Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

When this adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway hit opened, the chemistry between stars Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman almost burned up the screen. The Actors Studiotrained Newman had gone into the film with some reservations about working with an actress who had learned her craft in front of cameras since childhood. He quickly came to respect her knowledge of screen technique. When Taylor’s husband, Mike Todd, was killed in a plane crash during production, Newman was also amazed at the fervor with which she attacked her role as a woman fighting her way back into her husband’s heart and into his father’s will. Their onscreen magic got a lot of support from a strong cast that included Burl Ives and Madeleine Sherwood from the original stage production, along with Judith Anderson and Jack Carson. Director Richard Brooks kept the project moving at a fever pitch that distracted from the many script revisions made to appease the censors. The Helen Rose designed costumes for Taylor cemented her position as a sex symbol and fashion icon.

Dir. Richard Brooks