Friday, October 27, 2017

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a play by Tennessee Williams adapted for film in 1958 and again in 1984, was one of the earliest cinematic productions of Williams' work. The 1958 film, directed by Richard Brooks, starred Paul Newman; Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie the Cat; and Burl Ives. It was nominated for six Oscars.

As much as the original play was recognised in the theatre, the film was a great entry into the popular imagination for Tennessee Williams. It was very polished, even though it was hard for people to appreciate Williams. He was always enigmatic, difficult to understand: almost, given the period of his creative years, bordering on mild to extreme perversion; or else misunderstood.

For more information and a plot summary, see Wikipedia.

The American Consulate in Chennai had a regular program on book discussion, where the learned heads of teaching institutions, and writers, were invited. It amused me that at the end of a discussion of Tennessee Williams' work which I headed, several of these gathered around me with curious questions: How did I know Tennessee Williams so well, when others hardly understood him? Had I met him personally? I replied that not only had I not met him but honestly, I had not even read the book, except for the text on the cover and a couple of random paragraphs.

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