Oscar History

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William Holden in Picnic

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Suddenly, last ICYMI posting....

August isn't an ideal month for blogging. People are vacationing or otherwise desperate to make use of the last stretch of summer (Turns out most people's idea of summer fun does not include hanging out online reading articles about the Oscars and Liz Taylor classics) and everyone is sick of current movies too as the summer blockbusters begin to blur together and everyone waits for the movies to get serious again since August is usually reserved for the riskier or less stellar blockbuster wannabes. So if you've been in & out, here's a handful of highlights from the past two weeks you might have missed.

Scotty vs. Judy - it's your last day to vote on this Vertigo poll
10 Best Movie Trees - as inspired by Groot. "I am Groot"
What Makes Sandra Bullock Special? - Matthew figures it out as Forbes named her Highest Paid actress
Lauren Bacall Essentials - ten key roles from the newly departed legendary star
Oscar Charts - they were finally updated. Even the foreign submission charts are a go.
The Giver - Michael's entertaining review, complete with a Study Guide 
Desk Set - They had computers in 1957? And Katharine Hepburn did battle with them!?

"Blondes were next on the menu..."
In other news, I'm STILL obsessing over Suddenly Last Summer (1959). I was so taken by the movie this time around (maybe it's the dearth of exciting movies out in theaters?) that I thought about it all week and ended up writing a second piece for Towleroad, which delves a bit more into its place in my life and gay cinema history (and my actual theory about which subgenre it actually belongs to).

In high school English I became totally smitten with the Tennessee Williams classics. This worried my mother because she picked up on everything gay long before I did though she was too religious to ever name that unspeakable concern. (She gave me the same look when I fell hard for Cabaret though the most she would say by way of explanation was that it was “disgusting”). Hollywood as an industry is perhaps a little more akin to a frightened parent than their gay child; Showbiz loved, nurtured and produced endless gaybies but always had issues with their gayness!

Read it in full here...

And in case you missed the earlier postings about this Tennessee Williams film, please do check out my thoughts on Liz Taylor's blazing Oscar nominated star turn, as well as the Best Shot choices from around the web.  Lots of interesting takes on the movie. Next up on "Best Shot" is GONE WITH THE WIND (the first half only) on Tuesday night. Will you be riding into Tara to socialize with that infamous Southern Belle?

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Reader Comments (5)

Once I had a lit theory professor who taught "Suddenly Last Summer," in the same semester I studied "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" in a Theater into Film class. So much Liz Taylor? Young'uns—in undergraduate school, track down they gay male humanities professors. They won't steer you wrong.

In that same semester I studied "Six Degrees of Separation," "Harold and Maude," "The Lion in Winter," and "Night, Mother."

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W

What a great Towleroad piece. It makes me think that Suddenly Last Summer would make an interesting companion piece with Stranger by the Lake (which I have seen), what with their beefy waterside horror-esque antics. Although interestingly, the latter work has no female presence to speak of. Quite an interesting shift in films featuring the trope of "predatory gays," perhaps?

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

I remember before ever watching Suddenly Last Summer being enraptured by its trailer, which was one of the extras on the DVD for A Streetcar Named Desire. Then I saw it and the scene of Liz's recollections.... I still get chills when she screamed.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Listennnnnnnn I will ALWAYS read articles about Liz Taylor classics, I don't care how inconvenient the timing is. Have loved reading about one of my all time faves, Suddenly Last Summer, when I get the chance. Great summer counter-programming in such a terrible time.

@CMG--I was delighted when a dear friend of mine (not an old movie fanatic) texted me recently to say he was watching Suddenly Last Summer for the first time. Sure enough, Taylor's screaming FREAKED HIM OUT. Girl walked a thin thin line between siren and harpy and I'll always love her for it.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

All this talk of Suddenly, Last Summer is really making me want to see it. Nathaniel, you raise a very interesting point in your most recent article: why don't we get more big-screen versions of Williams' plays? I wonder if the proliferation of them in the '50s and the '60s might be something to do with it: perhaps the plays were most suited to adaptation in those eras, when the taboos were still very much taboo and the films could make the most of the characters' closeted suffering. as it a special mix of material, censorship and society-on-the-brink-of-change that made these stories so potent for Hollywood at that moment in time? To put it another way, would filmmakers know how to film these plays today and 'get them right'? My questions aren't rhetorical - I don't know Williams' work well enough for that (the only one I can really claim to know at all well is Streetcar, which I studied at university), so I'm just speculating, but I wonder if that may have something to do with it.

Alternatively, maybe filmmakers are scared off not by the plays but by the immense reputations of so many of the films. It would be a brave director and set of actors to take on Kazan, Brando and Leigh, or Huston, Burton and Gardner...or Mankiewicz, Taylor, Hepburn and Clift! Though that hasn't seemed to stop people when it comes to Shakespeare - and, as you say, we have plenty of adaptations of his work.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

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