Thursday, August 09, 2007


After getting shots at the institute Monday afternoon, I headed to Silver Spring to see a couple movies. The first of these was John Houston's screen adaptation of Tennessee Williams' humid Night of the Iguana (1964).* The good Reverend Dr. T. Lawrence Shannon (Richard Burton) is in bad shape. He has endured a lifetime of weakness, a recent breakdown, and he's possibly malarial. Not long ago he was barred from his church; more recently he has attempted to escape headlong into the anonymous backwaters of México by operating congregational bus tours. Shortly into his latest excursion, his combination of sweaty desperation and sexy accent has attracted the predatory attention of eighteen-year-old Charlotte (Sue Lyon), an underage laser beam of freely inappropriate rebellion who just naturally plays on the good Reverend's historic failings. "That boy back home said I just grew up too fast" she purrs, and to his credit, the Reverend keeps right on running in the other direction. Not that this spares him the equally focused disapproval of Charlotte's chaperone, a pinched and ruthless woman who is dedicated to punishing the Reverend for this apparent seduction. With a whole school bus of blue haired church ladies, and even his own coworker, turned against him, the Reverend finally hits bottom: hijacking the tourists and disabling their transportation at a coastal posada just outside Puerto Vallarta, a lost tropical horizon where the Reverend feels he can work through his demons to everyone's satisfaction. But its more complicated than that: here at the inn everyone is finally lost, and there are more demons to work through than just his. Huston's charged environments provide a perfect greenhouse for an exceptional cast here, blazing a story by turns passionate, bleak, and occasionally comedic. Williams' pitched gothic could not be in better hands. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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