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The Night of the Iguana [1964 film]

– tekijä: John Huston (Ohjaaja), Anthony Veiller (Screenwriter)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
331571,349 (5)-
A defrocked, alcoholic, American minister becomes a tour guide, and while travelling in Mexico with a bus-load of school teachers and their 18-year old charge, becomes entangled with the girl, with a woman of eloquence and wisdom, and with an earthy and beautiful former love.
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The Night of the Iguana (1964)

Richard Burton – Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon
Ava Gardner – Maxine Faulk
Deborah Kerr – Hannah Jelkes

Sue Lyon – Charlotte Goodall
Grayson Hall – Judith Fellowes
Cyril Delevanti – Nonno
Skip Ward – Hank Prosner

Screenplay by Anthony Veiller and John Huston, based on the play (1961) by Tennessee Williams
Directed by John Huston

Black and white. 118 min.

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This movie must be considered one of the finest attempts to bring Tennessee Williams to the screen. If not quite in the same league as Cat (1958) and Streetcar (1951), it certainly comes very close to that level of perfection. The only trouble – it’s not in colour, so not making the best of the gorgeous Mexican location.

Most of the changes in the script might have been expected. Miss Fellowes and Charlotte are more prominent. Much of Shannon’s seduction of Charlotte (or hers of him), of which we see nothing and hear little in the play, occupies the first half an hour of the movie. After that, the play is followed more closely and the dialogue is mostly lifted from it with minimum of emendation or abridgement; few phrases are moved to other lips, Shannon’s scatological story is omitted, things like that. Some relationships are somewhat changed (the Maxine-Hannah axis is warmer), some natures are toned down (Maxine is hardly “rapaciously lusty”), and some additions are superfluous (the opening scene with Shannon going mad during one of his sermons).

On the other hand, the ending, while more upbeat than in the play, is not sentimentalised. Some room is left to wonder what’s going to happen with all three main characters. Hannah’s bizarre ideas of love experience are retained virtually unchanged. The lesbian inclinations of Miss Fellowes are made quite clear, if anything even clearer. Maxine doesn’t mince her words:

Did you know that if it wasn’t for the dykes the plains of Texas would be engulfed by the Gulf? Let’s level for a while, butch, old gal. You know what you’re sore about, what you’re really sore about? That little quail of yours has a natural preference for men instead of...

On the whole, the script is a fine adaptation. Details may be different, but the essence is the same. The three main characters are recognisably the same people, like the iguana from the title, at the end of their rope. Ergo, the success on the screen, like the one on the stage, depends entirely on the cast. Fortunately for us, the ungrateful posterity, the cast in this movie is fabulous.

Richard Burton is grand as that pathetic, yet oddly endearing, poser Shannon, the Reverend locked out of his church (not defrocked, mind you!). He can be very funny when handling the bottle, that pesky clerical collar, or his nemesis on the beach: “What did you think we were doing out there, Miss Fellowes? Spawning?” Verily I say unto you, Dick Burton is a much underrated comic talent. Ava Gardner tends to make Maxine a bit goofy, but she doesn’t miss her shrewdness, common sense and, yes, goodness.

Both Burton and Gardner are all but overshadowed by Deborah Kerr, the second greatest actress never to win an Oscar (the first is, of course, Barbara Stanwyck). Hannah is a tough part to pull off. She is angelic and sweet, but in a somewhat ironic and even steely way. She dominates much of her encounters with Maxine and Shannon. It is easy to exaggerate the part and turn Hannah into a vamp or a saint. But Deborah never does, not for a single line. She is consistently, as Shannon would have said, fantastic.

The supporting cast is brimming with superb performances. Grayson Hall as the venomous Miss Fellowes must take the palm here. I don’t know about the Reverend, but I find her “Don’t make me take steps, Dr. Shannon!” quite chilling. Cyril Delevanti doesn’t have much to do as “the oldest living and practicing poet in the world”, but he does his bit supremely well. Casting Sue Lyon, not much of an actress but then fresh from Kubrick’s Lolita (1962), was the obvious stroke of genius. Skip Ward as the cocky chauffer, two sultry Mexican boys (Maxine’s bathing companions) and one cute iguana dominating the opening credits if not the movie complete a deeply satisfying supporting cast.

Some credit must be given to John Huston, of course. He knew how to make the best of his cast. As a co-screenwriter, he probably had more than a little to do with keeping many of the best lines from the play. As a director, he is kinetic but never frenetic, an expert storyteller who knows that truly great stories are made of characters. He has a sharp eye for exotic beauty. The location looks stunning even in black and white, although it is used sparingly. Spectacle was never John Huston’s way, which is fine because it was never Tennessee Williams’ way either. ( )
3 ääni Waldstein | Nov 4, 2018 |
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

» Lisää muita tekijöitä (6 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Huston, JohnOhjaajaensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Veiller, AnthonyScreenwriterpäätekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Boylan, Marymuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Burton, Richardmuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Delevanti, Cyrilmuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Gardner, Avamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Kerr, Deborahmuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Lyon, Suemuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Williams, TennesseeOriginal playmuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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Based on the play by Tennessee Williams.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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A defrocked, alcoholic, American minister becomes a tour guide, and while travelling in Mexico with a bus-load of school teachers and their 18-year old charge, becomes entangled with the girl, with a woman of eloquence and wisdom, and with an earthy and beautiful former love.

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