“I’m not tired — I’m just fed up.”
A drifter-guitarist (Marlon Brando) hoping to leave his wild life behind settles for a job as a clerk at a store owned by an ailing bigot (Victor Jory) and his long-suffering wife (Anna Magnani). Meanwhile, a troubled girl (Joanne Woodward) who’s unwelcome in the small town tries to seduce Brando, but he won’t be lured by any woman — at least not at first.
Sidney Lumet’s adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play Orpheus Descending — itself a remake of Williams’ unproduced Battle of Angels (1940) — is an intriguing entry in Marlon Brando’s screen career, marking what many consider to be the start of his decline, but still showing ample evidence of his charisma. It’s easy to see why the symbol-laden storyline (drenched in both Greek mythology and Christianity) was a challenging one for Williams to “get right” (and get made) — but it more or less works, given the ample star power on display, atmospheric sets and cinematography, and Williams’ unique feeling for outsiders. This one will primarily be of interest to fans of any of the three leads — and/or Lumet or Williams — and is certainly worth a look; but other film fanatics needn’t consider it must-see.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Marlon Brando as ‘Snakeskin’
- Anna Magnani as Lady
- Joanne Woodward as Carol
- Notable supporting performances
- Boris Kaufman’s cinematography
No, but it’s certainly worth a one-time look.