39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Big On The Drugs, A Bit Thin On The Plays,
By A Customer
This review is from: A&E Biography - Tennessee Williams: Wounded Genius [VHS] (VHS Tape)
On this A & E video bio of Tennessee Williams, there's plenty of talk of his drinking and drug-taking and sleeping around. There's not much on the plays, just snippets of the highly salacious trailers (of the movies made from them), and almost no analysis. Few clips of Tennessee's wonderful interviews are included, except a snippet of the Davis Frost show when he walks on drunk and a few others.
Interviews with the playwights' brother Dakin, biographers Lyle Leverich and Donald Spoto, old friend and minor writer Donald Windham, actor Eli Wallach, actress Kim Hunter and a few others appear and try their best, but aren't allowed to say very much. Williams later-life problems are put down to drinking, and no mention is made of the tremendous pounding he took from the anti-gay press of his day, even at the top of his success in the fifties. Only Kim Hunter is allowed to say at the end of the tape that, since Tennessee's death, his later plays which were so roundly denounced in the American press (but not the European) are now finally getting their due.
There was a wonderful documentary that PBS put out a few years ago on its American Masters series that dealt with all these issues: the plays, the success, the hostility, and included interviews with admiring fellow-writers (Gore Vidal, Edward Albee) and actors who were allowed to say more about the plays (including Hunter again); A & E's bio is a rather superficial work by comparison. PBS should issue their bio as a tape/DVD; every Williams fan would buy it!
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