Tennessee Williams on the death of Anna Magnani


“We sit here today, and I have to say that everything really fell apart in 1973. Green tables on the television over which the entire Watergate soap opera played its sad fable. William Inge takes that final drive in that car in the Hollywood hills. And Anna Magnani dies, far away from me, silent and weak.

Age has made it difficult for me to have much faith in things, but the death of Anna Magnani has made it almost impossible.

It still seems incomprehensible that the world–my world–can function without her in it.”

Tennessee Williams/1982

originally posted on: http://jamesgrissom.blogspot.co.uk




Check out Magnani’s magic in:

600full-mamma-roma-posterPower-house performance from Magnani in Mamma Roma (1962) and a great place to start for anyone apprehensive of dipping their toes in Pasolini waters.

the-fugitive-kind-movie-poster-1960-1020249428The Fugitive Kind (1960).

Brando, Magnani and Woodward? Oh yes. All three stars sizzle in this cracking take on Tennessee Williams’s play, Orpheus Descending – with a screenplay by TW himself. Oh, and it’s also directed by Sidney Lumet…

posted by Dixie Turner


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Summer Breaks: Williams, Faulkner and the Sweat of the South

When the summer breaks, and the heat that was is replaced by a tart wind that blows wet kisses and fluffs up your hair, it’s easy to think it’s time to dust-down your conker collection and perfect your leaf-kicking saunter. Gone, surely, are the days of basking in a sodden swelter in the park, in the garden, on your roof or on the bonnet of your car. The shops have long been full of the call to Autumn, all but bypassing summer completely, forever full of gloves and scarves; it’s surprising they haven’t managed to negotiate a deal to have the clocks put back already, to further encourage the sale of anoraks.

In one last plea for summer, we at Video City encourage the following viewing (in remembrance of the cool beer glass you once clutched so urgently in your sweaty hand; in remembrance of melted ice cubes, dearly beloved; in remembrance of those hard-to-reach places on your back that always end up burning, and for the satisfaction, let’s face it, of watching other people sweat away whilst we prepare to iron out our wooly jumpers).


Many of these films explore the interconnection between broad social issues (the poverty of the working classes; their place in society; how they are regarded and the treatment they receive) and more overtly personal concerns (sexuality, gender roles, anger at perpetual marginalisation and the suspicions that are heaped on those regarded as outsiders). Under the  glare of such suspicions and under the heat of the sun, sexual tension buzzes and crackles with electric intensity and desire, frustration, pride and resentment drags protagonists into desperation. Remember the summer, and sizzle:

Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – directed by Elia Kazan (Gentlemen’s Agreement, East of Eden).

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) – directed by Richard Brooks (Elmer Gantry, Sweet Bird of Youth).

Long, Hot Summer (1958) directed by Martin Ritt (The Outrage, Hud).

Suddenly Last Summer (1959) directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, Guys and Dolls).

Fugitive Kind (1959) directed by Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Serpico, Before The devil Knows You’re Dead).

Night of the Iguana (1964) directed by John Huston (African Queen, The Misfits). Sadly, not currently available on DVD…