• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:June 22, 2021

The Night of the Iguana


nightoftheiguanaFormer priest T. Laurence Shannon (Richard Burton) now works as a travel guide in Mexico; when also that job is about to go south, he takes drastic measures. One of Tennessee Williams’s last great plays has become a funny, fascinating movie, one that has the chance to add real, beautiful, sweaty Mexican locations to the material. The cast is pure dynamite, including Ava Gardner as the unhappy, high-strung owner of a hotel, Deborah Kerr as the sexually inexperienced but nevertheless insightful visitor, and Grayson Hall as the spinster with a secret. Burton certainly holds his own, and as the night progresses the more interesting the conversations get.

1964-U.S. 118 min. B/W. Produced by John Huston, Ray Stark. Directed by John Huston. Screenplay: John Huston, Anthony Veiller. Play: Tennessee Williams. Costume Design: Dorothy Jenkins. Cast: Richard Burton (T. Laurence Shannon), Deborah Kerr (Hannah Jelkes), Ava Gardner (Maxine Falk), Sue Lyon, Skip Ward, Grayson Hall.

Oscar: Best Costume Design.

Last word: “Tony Veiller and I had a pretty good scene written where Burton is alone in his room in a fever and in a drunk and all these things are going on inside of him. The girl, Sue Lyon, comes and tries to seduce him and he is doing everything in his power to keep away from the girl. Well, we gave the scene to Tennessee to see what he thought of it. The only change he wrote was the thing that made the scene. When the girl opens the door suddenly, a glass falls onto the floor leaving broken bits of glass scattered about the room. When the scene is played both of them are barefoot. Burton walks on it and doesn’t even feel his feet being shredded. The girl sees this and joins him walking barefoot across the glass. It was the difference between an extraordinary scene and a pedestrian one. It’s also an example of Tennessee’s extraordinary powers of dramatization. It certainly was a welcome idea.” (Huston, “John Huston: Interviews”)



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