Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959), directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

A rich, sharp-tongued and very eccentric widow will make a huge endowment to his hospital if the prominent neurosurgeon will lobotomize her young, beautiful cousin and stop her from saying those horrible, insane, obscene things.

What sort of things? About how the widow's son Sebastian died in Spain the previous summer. Mom, like everyone else, was obsessed with and completely devoted to the pan-sexual little god. By persistent inquiry the doctor finally discovers the awful, unspeakable truth:


Sebastian used women as lures, bait to draw in young men (and boys?) When his mother became too old he switched to his young cousin, flaunting her on the beach, nearly naked, and causing riots. He went too far, and his young targets eventually dealt with him.

There is an early hint as to his interests when we visit his study and see all the male nude art. The same gimmick was used for comic effect in Death at a Funeral (2007).

It's been a long time and I remembered only fragments of an avant-garde, Production Code-straining film with that horrific climax and Elizabeth Taylor's wrenching breakdown as she remembers and tells the story. Now I'm more aware of a one-act play stretched out to feature film length, with very long dialogue passages.

And yet:

Available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time. No extras apart from an isolated score.