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Suddenly, Last Summer

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Original title
Suddenly, Last Summer
Running time
114 min.
United States United States
Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal (Theater: Tennessee Williams)
Buxton Orr, Malcolm Arnold
Jack Hildyard (B&W)
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Distributed by Columbia Pictures. Producer: Sam Spiegel
Drama. Mystery | Southern Gothic. 1930s. Gay & Lesbian
Movie Groups
Tennessee Williams Adaptations
Synopsis / Plot
In 1937 New Orleans, Dr. John Cukrowicz, working at the state run Lion's View Mental Institution, is experimenting with a radical new treatment for hopeless cases of lunacy: lobotomy. Lion's View is woefully underfunded, but a supposed savior comes forth in the form of the wealthy and aging widowed Mrs. Violet Venable, the Venable name an institution in and of itself in New Orleans. Mrs. Venable had an extremely close bond with her poet son Sebastian, who she vacationed with every year, but who died the previous summer while on a European vacation with Mrs. Venable's pretty niece by marriage, Catherine Holly. Mrs. Venable's $1 million donation to Lion's View is seemingly predicated on Dr. Cukrowicz institutionalizing and lobotomizing Catherine, who Mrs. Venable states is mentally deranged. Catherine, in meeting with Dr. Cukrowicz, states that she is not deranged but that something is disturbing her from her vacation last summer with Sebastian. Catherine does not remember the specific incident which is causing her this grief. With pressure from Mrs. Venable (which is equally directed at Catherine's mother in the form of $100,000 to sign Catherine's commitment papers), Dr. Cukrowicz has to decide to go forward with the operation against the vehement denials of lunacy by Catherine, or wait to try and find out exactly what happened last summer between Catherine and Sebastian.
1959: 3 Nominations for Oscar: Actress (Taylor), Actress (Hepburn), Art Direction (B&W)
1959: Golden Globes: Best Actress - Drama (Taylor). Nom. Best Actress (Hepburn)
1959: David di Donatello Awards: Golden Plate (Elizabeth Taylor)
1959: National Board of Review: Top 10 Best Films
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