Cat on a Hot Tin RoofCat on a Hot Tin Roof
Year: 1958
Rating: Not Rated
Length: 108 minutes / 1.80 hours

While I understand the ease of adapting stage plays into movies, the result still feels a lot like watching a stage play on the big screen. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) is no exception. Adapted from the Tennessee Williams play of the same name, this movie boasts a few big names like Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. I think this movie probably wouldn’t have been as notable unless it had these names tied to it in some way. After all, there’s a reason why we still remember these writers and actors today.

Even if Cat on a Hot Tin Roof starts slow, the increasing amount of twists and reveals makes for an entertaining movie. I think part of my issue with the slow start might be with Elizabeth Taylor’s acting. It felt to me like she was reading memorized lines and didn’t put much emotion or effort into her performance. This wooden eventually turned around, but the damage had been done. On the flip side, a very young Paul Newman gave an exemplary performance, even if it’s not that difficult to act drunk and disillusioned about a past life that can no longer happen.

In the end, a lot of plays cover topics that relate to the human condition. Our ability to handle legacy, death, and new life can come in many forms. Sure, there’s something to be said about apathy, anger, or anxiety when facing these topics, but the real character growth comes from acceptance and a willingness to move on. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof provides an ugly set-up that allows the characters to grow into acceptance of their situations, so its entertainment comes in watching them “therapy it out” throughout its run time.

A chance to see a young Paul Newman at his best, I give Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 4.0 stars out of 5.

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