Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

In director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's melodramatic and lurid adaptation of Tennessee Williams' 1958 play and Gore Vidal's screen adaptation (toned down due to allusions to homosexuality, cannibalism, pedophilia, and incest):

  • New Orleans debutante Catherine Holly (Elizabeth Taylor), the institutionalized niece of rich widow Mrs. Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn), walking across a catwalk in a mental asylum with male inmates reaching out for her legs
  • the impressionistic flashbacks in the concluding scene of Catherine's recounting of her day at the beach the previous summer in Spain, when her homosexual cousin Sebastian (unseen fully in the film) had bought her a white one-piece bathing suit that became transparent when wet - deliberately used to lure in males for his own pleasure
  • Catherine's climactic monologue and accounting of a surreal murder scene - a horrifying incident (cannibalistic homicide by ravenous Spanish youths) after Sebastian was chased up a steep set of streets to the ruins of an ancient stone temple, where he was ravaged by the young boys
  • the conclusion in which Mrs. Venable became delusional, while Catherine was cured and spared from being further institutionalized and lobotomized


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z