“I’m gonna have to remove Chance Wayne from your life finally, and for the last time!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Newman is at his hunkiest (is that even possible to distinguish?):
… and Page is note-perfect as an insecure, narcissistic diva, still gorgeous and alluring, but clearly about to pass her prime.
The rest of the storyline — primarily centered on venal Begley’s outsized political and personal influence in his town — is a tough pill to swallow but, sadly, all too believable. It’s gut-wrenching watching him bully and mistreat everyone around him, including his daughter (Knight):
… his sister (Mildred Dunnock), his staffers, and — most infamously — his mistress (Sherwood):
… not to mention seeing the ripple effect this has on his son (Torn), who it seems will follow in his footsteps:
As Bosley Crowther wrote in his amusing assessment for the New York Times:
Mostly, however, we’re eager to see how things will play out between Newman and Page: each is cockily confident they will get what they want from the other, and weirdly enough, we can’t help rooting for both of them in turn. As CineSavant writes in his review for Trailers From Hell, “Not all Tennessee Williams film adaptations are successful, but Richard Brooks’ blend of romance, show biz venality and political thuggery is just too entertaining to dismiss.”
Note: Thankfully, censors demanded that the utterly bleak ending of Williams’ play be altered somewhat, leaving us with an unexpected sense of hope by the end.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: