Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Deluxe Edition (DVD)
"I'm not living with you," Maggie snaps at Brick. "We occupy the same cage, that's all." The raw emotions and crackling dialogue of Tennessee Williams' 1955 Pulitzer Prize play rumble like a thunderstorm in this film version whose fiery performances and grown-up themes made it one of 1958's top box-office hits. Paul Newman earned his first OscarO nomination* as troubled ex-sports hero Brick. In a performance that marked a transition to richer adult roles, Elizabeth Taylor snagged her second. Her Maggie the Cat is a vivid portrait of passionate loyalty. Nominated for six Academy AwardsO including Best Picture* and also starring Burl Ives (repeating his Broadway triumph as mendacity-loathing Big Daddy), Judith Anderson and Jack Carson, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof sizzles.
The main extra here is a commentary recorded by the veteran biographer Donald Spoto, who brings a breezy and amusing narrative style to a discussion of the behind-the-scenes production issues as well as the play's themes of mendacity and secrecy, with a nod to Cat
's place in Tennessee Williams' oeuvre. In particular, good detail is given on how the play's veiled homosexual anxieties were adapted into different form for the movie. A rather trivial ten-minute short doc, Playing Cat and Mouse
, concentrates on what the film meant to the careers of Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, with the emphasis on Taylor's personal tragedy during shooting: her husband Mike Todd was killed in an airplane crash a week into filming. The film's original trailer is also included. --Robert Horton