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Sweet Bird of Youth [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Shirley Knight, Ed Begley, Rip Torn
  • Directors: Richard Brooks
  • Writers: Richard Brooks, Tennessee Williams
  • Producers: Kathryn Hereford, Pandro S. Berman
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
  • VHS Release Date: September 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301978692
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,024 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Sweet Bird of Youth has the Tennessee Williams penchant for provocation and Southern depravity--although at this point, the bloom is somewhat off the hothouse flower. Paul Newman is a cad who dreams of glory; he's returned to his hometown towing a dissolute, over-the-hill Hollywood star (Geraldine Page re-creates her Broadway role), certain she'll be his meal ticket. He's ruined the only girl he really loved (day-dreamy Shirley Knight), who just happens to be the daughter of the town's boss (Ed Begley, in an Oscar®-winning role). The play's more shocking elements have been euphemized, in the custom of the era's Williams movie adaptations. Director Richard Brooks handles it with intensity, and Rip Torn (who was married to Page) has some wicked moments, but the movie is bound to its theatrical roots and its inability to mention racism, syphilis, or castration. And that's Tennessee Williams without the hot sauce. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

It seems that money and sex are their driving motivations in life and maybe Williams is not far wrong.
Cherie
Only thinking of their futures and dreams without thinking of consequences to the other human beings in their lives.
Sheila Chilcote-Collins
Ed Begley, Sr. gives a brilliant performance, and deservedly won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in this film.
Richard Davis McLeod

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Chad Edwards on October 2, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Based on the hit Tennessee Williams play, this exciting drama stars Paul Newman as a slick young opportunist who returns to his home town with an ageing movie queen(Geraldine Page), but runs head-on into trouble with the town's corrupt boss(Ed Begley in an Oscar-winning performance). As is the case with his 1958 film version of Tennessee Williams' CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, director Richard Brooks was forced to clean up this Williams play for the movies. But those blasted censors didn't hurt anything. Like CAT, SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH is still a gritty, powerful, and brilliant film. Every one of the performers delivers a top-notch portrayal. But the film ultimately belongs to Geraldine Page whose funny and touching portrayal of the fading star is, quite simply, one of the greatest performances ever captured on film.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Sheila Chilcote-Collins VINE VOICE on September 24, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Paul Newman as the good lookin', blue eyed, lustful and lascivious opportunist, Chance Wayne and a specacular Geraldine Page as the aging Alexandra Del Lago (Princess Cosmonopolous) stir up some trouble in Chance's homecoming to the South. Both Alexandra and Chance are the very epitome of selfishness. Only thinking of their futures and dreams without thinking of consequences to the other human beings in their lives.

Chance has left his hometown and the love of his life, Heavenly Finley, played by Shirley Knight, to seek fame and fortune in New York and Hollywood. Not so lucky is Chance, however, as he picks Alexandra up in Palm Beach while playing BEACH BOY and sex slave to the stars.

Once returning home, however, Heavenly's father and brother, played aptly by Ed Begley (Oscar Winner 1962) as Tom 'Boss' Finley, and Rip Torn (who was married to Geraldine page at the time) as Thomas 'Tom' J. Finley, Jr. are trying like hell to get rid of Chance and his aging drunk of a has-been hollywood screen star.

Mildred Dunnock (Whatever Happened To Aunt Alice & The Corn Is Green)is the kind, Aunt Nonnie who secretly arranges for Chance and Heavenly to meet on the sly while Chance is in town.

Madeleine Sherwood (Mae from Cat On A Hot tin Roof) is Boss Finley's mistress, Miss Lucy and has a great bit part and a pivotal role in the film.

Alexandra comes to realize that she actually has feelings for someone other than herself in Chance and tells him. But of course, Chance runs off to his Heavenly. Many a fight ensues with a sort of happy ending, given that this is Williams!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
As in her portrayal of Alma in Tennessee Williams' "Summer and Smoke," Geraldine Page is electrifying, recreating the role she originated on Broadway. This time, however, she has a leading man worthy of her talents. Paul Newman proves he has more than his looks to rely on; it is to his credit that Page never overshadows him in their extended scenes together. The rest of the cast is excellent as well. The film itself strays from Williams' stage version (which included such topics as venereal disease and castration) in several respects, but also has some intriguing additions, especially the scene between Ed Begley and Madeleine Sherwood. But the real reason to watch this film is for Geraldine Page -- what an actress. She is missed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Gawlitta on February 5, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am thrilled that this film will finally be released on DVD in May, 2006. I'm among the greatest of Geraldine Page's fans, and the only better news I could get would be that "Summer & Smoke" will be out soon. Indeed, Williams' play was toned down for the studio sensibilities of the 60's. Newman was very fine, as was Shirley Knight, Madeline Sherwood, Ed Begley & Rip Torn. But it's Page who carries this amazing film about depravity, disappointment and hopelessness. Page did the role many times on stage, and Paul Newman was an excellent choice for Chance Wayne. Page, Knight & Begley were all nominated for Oscars (Begley a winner); Knight was nominated 2 years earlier for "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs", another brilliant film adaptation of a play by the great American playwright, William Inge. I hope Warner Bros. has the sense to release that soon. A wonderful film. So much drivel is being released on DVD. It's unfortunate that the quality stuff has been put on the back shelf. Will they ever realize that there is a public out here, waiting for real quality?

UPDATE: Summer and Smoke is available now, and it's wonderful; Page at her absolute finest.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "nataliesnumber1fan" on May 15, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
THE STUDIO MAY HAVE CLEANED UP AND SANITIZED THIS FILM LIKE THEY DID WITH ALL OF TENNESSEE'S WORK BUT IT IS STILL A WONDERFUL FILM. PAUL NEWMAN AND ED BEGLEY ARE JUST GREAT AND SHIRLEY KNIGHT AND MADELINE SHERWOOD ARE TOP NOTCH BUT ONCE AGAIN THE DIVINE GERALDINE PAGE COMMANDS THE FILM! WHAT A SPECTACULAR ACTRESS THIS WOMAN WAS!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fast Forward on April 30, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's always a joy to see a film which has been cast with such perfection, and this film is exactly that. While the story is its own hearty blend of sleaze, deceit and lust, the actors make it an experience you'll never forget.
My favorite character is Geraldine Page, playing Alexandra Del Lago, the flop-actress on-the-run. I have never seen anyone who can act this way, mixing panache, vulgarity and cheapness in the most delightful blend. There's a certain sweetness about her, combined with a lovable, goofy flakiness. She seems to sing most of her lines, in a brash falsetto just oozing with camp humor. She doesn't chew the scenery; she just nibbles at it in the most tantalizing way. What an actress!!!
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