Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Another Girl, Another Planet

John Huston's The Night of the Iguana (1964) movie version of Tennessee Williams' play features Richard Burton as a hard drinking ex-Episcopal priest alternately stirred and buoyed by a rebellious young crush (Sue Lyon, Lolita); an itinerant artist (Deborah Kerr, From Here to Eternity, An Affair to Remember, Bonjour tristesse) travelling with her grandfather, the "oldest living poet;" and a widowed innkeeper (Ava Gardner) in Jalisco, Mexico.

The result, in black and white, seems quaint and innocent by today's standards. A better story was on the actual film set, with Elizabeth Taylor hovering around her paramour Richard Burton, blocking any lusty liaisons between him and Ava Gardner or anyone else, if not from fortifying drinks. The cast and crew were near wrapping up in November 1963 when the news came of JFK's assassination back in the States.

Given the rendered star power, this is worth a languid watch at least for the visuals and occasionally fun dialogue.

Backstage photo by Weegee, New York City, back in the day. Whereas the dudes seem dated, she'd fit right in today's fashion scene sixty odd years later.

Today's Rune: Breakthrough.


Sidney said...

It's been a long time since I saw this movie. It aired on the CBS Late Movie when I was a kid and starting to awaken to things I ought to pay attention to. I watched "The Subject Was Roses" on CBS in the wee hours also.

I don't recall being really wowed by "Iguana." Oddly I have always had a soft spot for "Boom!" with Burton and Taylor and based on a Williams play.

In his "Memoir" Williams predicted that the play would see more revival though it was not initially respected. I don't know that that's really come true, but still there's a certain something to "Boom!" that has always stayed with me.

Perhaps it was just Burton uttering the key line.

"Boom! Boom! The shock of each moment of still being alive."

Beth said...

The model would probably be criticized today for her "pooch." I think she looks great.

Johnny Yen said...

Funny, I just noticed my local library acquired Night of the Iguana for check-out.

I always think of Bill Murray when I think of that movie-- from a scene in "Scrooged," in which a slightly daft homeless guy thinks Murray is Richard Burton and begs him to do a scene from Night of the Iguana.

Bubs said...


I don't think I've ever seen this movie, and we are all huge Tennessee Williams fans here.

Bubs said...

By the way, I didn't comment on this earlier, but I love the Weegee photos!

Charles Gramlich said...

I never have seen this one, although I've heard it was pretty good. Man when it comes to movies I know next to nothing.

lulu said...

Just wanted to mention that your title is one of my favorite songs ever.