3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WAY Behind Schedule
THIS MOVIE IS SO BEAUTIFULLY FILMED IN BLACK AND WHITE, IT LITERALLY CRIES OUT FOR A CRISP, CLEAN, SHARP DVD TRANSFER. LESSER MOVIES ARE ALREADY OUT ON DVD, WHILE THIS ONE SEEMS CONDEMNED TO LANGUISH IN THE ETERNAL MURKINESS OF VHS....A VIEWING EXPERIENCE TANTAMOUNT TO DRINKING DON PERIGNON OUT OF A DIRTY TIN CAN. TSK TSK.
PUT IT OUT ON DVD; IT DESERVES TO BE...
Published on July 17 2004
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acting 101
Tennessee Williams' language soars (as usual), and this time his plotting doesn't degenerate into the morbidly ludicrous (see the last act of Opheus Descending). We're left with John Huston's direction (fine, as always) and the actors -- who inadvertently give vivid lessons in the differences between an actor and a star.
Compare Richard Burton's performance here with...
Published on June 5 2004
Most Helpful First | Newest First
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WAY Behind Schedule,
By A Customer
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)THIS MOVIE IS SO BEAUTIFULLY FILMED IN BLACK AND WHITE, IT LITERALLY CRIES OUT FOR A CRISP, CLEAN, SHARP DVD TRANSFER. LESSER MOVIES ARE ALREADY OUT ON DVD, WHILE THIS ONE SEEMS CONDEMNED TO LANGUISH IN THE ETERNAL MURKINESS OF VHS....A VIEWING EXPERIENCE TANTAMOUNT TO DRINKING DON PERIGNON OUT OF A DIRTY TIN CAN. TSK TSK.
PUT IT OUT ON DVD; IT DESERVES TO BE SHOWCASED IN GORGEOUS QUALITY. WE ARE ALL WAITING!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acting 101,
By A Customer
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)Tennessee Williams' language soars (as usual), and this time his plotting doesn't degenerate into the morbidly ludicrous (see the last act of Opheus Descending). We're left with John Huston's direction (fine, as always) and the actors -- who inadvertently give vivid lessons in the differences between an actor and a star.
Compare Richard Burton's performance here with his work in Beckett. From his opening scene in the church pulpit, he is so palpably in love with his own sonorous voice and his talent that there is never a moment when he is believable -- when he's not showing off as an actor. Would that Huston had reigned him in a bit, so that he delivers a tragic character rather than giving us a self-consciously "brilliant" actor hamming it up as a tragic character. Never for a moment do you forget you're watching Richard Burton. Self-indulgent and phony from beginning to end.
Ava Gardner. A legendary beauty whose looks were fading, and a star who was rarely called on to "act," she almost but not quite rises to the occasion. Much of Williams' emotional modulation is simply beyond her limited range, but she captures Maxine's earthiness -- not a stretch, considering Miss Gardner's rural North Carolina beginnings. Obviously willing to throw herself into the part, she nevertheless spends virtually the entire film elevating her head and stretching it forward unnervingly, all the better to give herself a semblance of a jawline and disguise her incipient double chin, which is the star's (not the character's) prerogative. Still, she inhabits Maxine far more believably and successfully than Burton "portrays" Rev. Shannon.
Sue Lyon. Couldn't act in Lolita, can't act here. Conventionally pretty. Too bad Tuesday Weld was too "old" for the part. Sue Lyon's mercifully brief career spared us from the discomfort of watching a starlet without a clue as to what to do with her hands, her body or her lines. Even Huston couldn't get a silk performance out of this sow's ear. The captured iguana, finally cut free in the third act, is more affecting.
Grayson Hall. Evenly matched with Richard Burton, in that both seem to be delivering theatrical performances best viewed from fifty feet away from a Broadway stage, rather than a filmic performance. Hall hits one strident ugly note early and never finds another.
Deborah Kerr. Finally in this film, the lone star who knows what acting is all about. From her first appearance to her final exit, she is utterly, shatteringly, her character. Alone in this cast, she is able to find and deliver the tremendous and subtle range of Williams' language and psychology. Not a single "actory" moment. Incredible richness. Hers is the lesson in Acting 101.
While everybody else (including director Huston) seems content to find one note in their characters, and stick to it (Burton's boozy, lecherous hopless loser; Gardner's earthiness; Lyons' petulance; Hall's belligerent stridency) . . . Kerr alone fully explores the layered nuances of Hannah Jelkes' sensitivity, compassion, sexuality, strength and determination. Hers is the only fully realized character in a cast of stars and would-be stars (Lyons) playing at acting.
Every scene of Kerr's reveals several dimensions of Hannah Jilkes -- as does Williams' material. And though his material is there to serve his other characters equally well, the remainder of the cast either choose to, or are merely capable of, playing but one level per scene.
One might choose any number of luminous Deborah Kerr performances, but this is perhaps her most astonishing, second to her miraculous turn in "The Innocents."
For anyone interested in the difference between a star and an actor, the video of "Night of the Iguana" is worth its weight in gold.
As a bonus, the humor in the piece and its historical value as the second most self-indulgent film of the period (after "Cleopatra") make it a worthwhile purchase.
But it is solely Miss Kerr who transcends the tabloid offscreen shenanigans of this production in Puerto Vallarta (complete with Elizabeth Taylor keeping an eye on the randy Mr. Burton), and gives us a sense of what could have been -- had the rest of the company been as professional, capable and up to the complex demands of this material as she.
5.0 out of 5 stars Where is this LONG OVERDUE DVD???,
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)This is truly one of the most amazing films you will ever see!!!It touches on "The Truth" and something much bigger/more acknowledging than perhaps we as human beings can understand in this lifetime-and does so with a magnificence and grace much more effective than almost anything I have ever seen. Although released in 1964, the messages of tolerance to other people, restoring faith, rising above our own potential self-destructivness, and MOVING ON WITH LIFE couldn't be more poignant for todays audience (perhaps even more striking and PRESCIENT!!). I agree with one previous reviewer- that it is comparable to the emotional depth/intellectual magnitude of a Bergman but perhaps much more easily digestable for a "pop-cultured" American audience-and that is truly unusual if nonexsistnat for an American Hollywood-type film. And Yet all the magic ingredients of A Hollywood Moneymaker are here...BIG STARS: Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, and Deborah Kerr (all of whom in my opinon deserved Oscars for their performances here), DIRECTED BY ONE OF HOLLYWOODS BEST/MOST SOUGHT AFTER DIRECTORS: John Huston BRILLIANT AND SMARTLY WRITTEN BY ONE OF THE BEST AUTHORs/ and POPULAR PLAYWRITES EVER!: Tennessee Williams. Their looks like there will be a 2005 re-release of this film but they NEVER LIVE UP TO THE ORIGINAL and I also agree that with one reviewer who states this is a film that was meant to be seen (and is much stronger) in its original black-and-white. I WILL NOT, (and I repeaat NOT)BUY the 2005 rerelase but I would however, dish out BIG MONEY for the original 1964 release of this film on DVD. This is truly one of the most powerful and worthwhile films you will ever see with performances by all players that are equally as strong!!! SO I REPEAT, WHERE IS THE DVD OF THIS BRILLIANT 1964 GEM??? MGM-PLEASE GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story. Great acting,
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)
Richard Burton ... Rev. Dr. T. Lawrence Shannon
If you have failed to see this film, you have missed a good one. Burton plays a defrocked Episcopal priest, Rev. Shannon, who was locked out of his church because of "sins of the flesh."
Taking a job with a tour-bus conductor, billed as "reverend," he runs afoul of a young girl, Charlotte Goodall) (Sue Lyon) who has designs in his skivvies. Her protector, Miss Fellowes (Grayson Hall) has her own designs on young Miss Goodall, and is intent on getting Shannon fired from his "bottom of the barrel" job. Enter beautiful Ava, a widow friend who owns a lush tropical resort hotel.
You will love this film--especially the poetry (Cyril Delevanti).
Joseph (Joe) Pierre
4.0 out of 5 stars Yeah, where IS the dvd??,
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)This is a difficult movie to watch, because the acting is waaay over the top and maybe the quaint Mexican milieu never really existed, and only 90 minutes of solid hard sell can convince anyone the old geezer's poem is literature instead of maudlin self-indulgence, but heck, it's the best Beatnik film ever made. Tennesee Williams makes WORLD CLASS maudlin self-indulgence, and I have to admit, I've been misquoting lines from this movie ("Dear God, can we stop now?") all my life without quite realizing where they came from. Burton and Gardner are plausible, but you're left with the uncomfortable feeling that some sort of Egyptian colossus is just off-screen.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic movie on the Fantastic Level,
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)The young moviegoer with his underdeveloped and as-yet, untested virtues may not be able to appreciate "The Night of the Iquana", whose themes include middle-aged soul searching. However, patrons over age 16 who have loved and lost, or who have wrestled the devil will enjoy this fine film. Those who are, at first, put off by the black and white cinematography soon realize that the movie's location is not the picturesque Puerto Vallarta, but is, instead, a place in time for each of the main characters who has each reached the turning point at the end of the line. Those interested in other movies with characters who have reached the end of the line may may also enjoy, "Hud", "Separate Tables", "This Property is Condemned", and "A Streetcar Named Desire".
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie, but when will it be out in DVD??,
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)"Night of the Iguana" for some reason is one of my all time
favorite movies. The humanity of this movie, and the characters
and the simple charm and directness of it always draws me
in as many times as I have seen it now.
When I was a teen ... long time ago, I thought this was a
I fell in love with Ava Gardner, what a babe, and Deborah
In my local city they put on a production of NOTI in the
Something about this play/movie just resonated with me,
The bottom line though is that I have to get this in
5.0 out of 5 stars Night of the Iguana: A great film. So where's the DVD?,
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)Forget the heat of Liz and Dick, high off Cleopatra. Forget how they helped put Puerto Vallarta on the map. Forget all the tabloid stuff that surrounded this film. (Let's think fondly, however, of the statue of John Huston that stands in a charming tourist section of PV.) Just focus on this wonderful film and the performances of the four principals: Burton, Kerr, Gardner and Lyons, with a special nod to Grayson Hall. I once read that Huston regretted having filmed it in black and white. Imagine for a moment if the great Bergman films like Wild Strawberries and The Silence had been in color. Color would have ruined the underlying drama of those pieces just as it would have ruined Iguana. This is not a feel-good movie in which pretty pictures and fluff abound; rather, it's about people who have arrived at the last leg of their physical and emotional journies and have to learn what's in store for them after they've gotten to the end of the proverbial line. Not a pretty place for one to be, so black and white captures that essence better than color ever could. I watch this film about once a year and it amazes me how well it holds up. This may be Burton's best performance, and Kerr is magnificent. I can't think of another play that was ever adapted for the screen with this much skill and which still packs such a punch after 40 years. I hope someone, as we speak, is working on a loving transfer of this film to DVD. It deserves it!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great,
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)Many people think this movie is flawed but I have to say I loved it. Deborah Kerr's ''excessive moralizing'' in the last twenty minutes brought tears to my eyes, and I found the butch guardian lady hillarious. Threading it all together was an erotic energy, characteristic of Williams. (Seeing Ava Gardner frolic with those two mexican boys on the beach sent me over the top).
Sure, given the beautiful, lush scenary it would have looked better in black and white but that doesn't detract from the movie. Fine performances by Burton, Kerr, Gardner make this movie worth while (the lolita girl didn't do a very good job). But the real star here is the script. The language is and musical, by one of the great writers of our time. Definitely worth seeing. Please see it!
4.0 out of 5 stars This Movie Holds Up Well,
This review is from: Night of the Iguana (VHS Tape)I run hot and cold on Tennessee Williams' art and often find his plays too gothic and overdone. I guess I'm running hot these days since I found this movie even better than I remember when I saw it almost 40 years ago. (I realize of course that John Huston and not Williams directed this movie.) Many of the elements found in Williams' other works are here--the nymphet, the bawdy, loud sexy woman, the fragile spinster, the repressed sexuality and the homosexual undercurrents. Richard Burton, who looks so young and almost boyish, does a good job of playing a sinning priest, Ava Gardner as the vulgar Maxine is not bad-- very authentic accent but she is from North Carolina after all-- and Deborah Kerr shines as the New England spinster. I kept thinking though that Elizabeth Taylor could have done a better job playing Maxine's part; after all, she was having a very public affair with Burton at the time and was with him in Puerto Vallarta where the movie was being filmed.
The symbolism of setting Burton free of his fetters and his then freeing the iquana may be a little too obvious, but at least we get the point.
In this instance it's as if life imitates art. Like Shannon who makes so many bad decisions, Burton also made some bad choices in selecting some of the movies he and Taylor made together. It's good to see what he was capable of as an actor.
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Night of the Iguana by John Huston (VHS Tape - 2002)
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