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This is an article about the movie adaptation. For the original play, see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Brooks
Produced by Lawrence Weingarten
Written by Tennessee Williams (play)
Richard Brooks
James Poe
Starring Elizabeth Taylor
Paul Newman
Burl Ives
Cinematography William Daniels
Editing by Ferris Webster
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) September 20, 1958 (1958-09-20)
Running time 107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,000,000
Gross revenue $26,355,483
Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor in a scene from the film

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) is an Academy Award-nominated MGM film directed by Richard Brooks based on the Tony-nominated play of the same name by Tennessee Williams adapted by Richard Brooks and James Poe. One of the top-ten box office hits of 1958, the film stars Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor and Burl Ives.



Late one night, Brick Pollitt is out trying to recapture his glory days of college sports by leaping hurdles on a track field, dreaming about his glory moments as a youthful athelete. Expectedly, he falls and injures his ankle and needs crutches. Just afterward. he, along with his wife, Maggie "the Cat", are visiting with his family in Mississippi, awaiting to celebrate Big Daddy's 65th birthday. Depressed, Brick decides to spend his days inside drinking while resisting the affections of his wife, who taunts him about the inheritance of Big Daddy's wealth.

Big Daddy, arriving from the hospital, is unaware that he is dying from cancer because his family and doctors refuse to tell either him or Big Mama. Maggie begs Brick to put care into getting his father’s wealth, but Brick stubbornly refuses. When Big Daddy is fed up with his alcoholic son’s behavior, he demands to know why he is so stubborn. Brick angrily refuses to answer.

Big Daddy forces the issue and the revealing moment ensues when Maggie tells what happened the night Brick's friend Skipper committed suicide. In the film, Maggie reveals she was jealous of Skipper because he had more of Brick's time. She claimed she wanted to ruin their relationship "by any means necessary." She intended to seduce Skipper and put the lie to his relationship with her husband. She got scared and ran away without going through with it. Brick blamed Maggie for Skipper's death. Later, when Big Daddy learns that he will die from cancer before his birthday, he along with Brick decides to give his inheritance to Maggie who "has life". Brick, with his troubles behind him, recognizes the affections of Maggie and the film ends, with the couple having a long kiss.


Production notes

The original stage production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opened on Broadway March 24, 1955, with Ives and Sherwood in the roles they subsequently played in the movie. Ben Gazzara played Brick in the stage production and rejected the film role as did Elvis Presley. Bowing to the tenor of the times, the suggestion of Brick's homosexuality was toned-down for the film, thus causing George Cukor to decline MGM's offer to direct the film. Lana Turner and Grace Kelly[1] were both considered for the part of Maggie before the role went to Taylor.

Production began on March 12, 1958, and by March 19, Taylor had contracted a virus which kept her off the shoot. On March 21, she canceled plans to fly with her husband Mike Todd to New York, where he was to be honored the following day by the New York Friars' Club. The plane crashed, and all passengers were killed. Beset with grief, Taylor remained off the film until April 14, 1958, at which time she returned to the set in a much thinner and weaker condition.[2]

Tennessee Williams so disliked the toned-down film adaptation of his play that he told people in the queue, "This movie will set the industry back 50 years. Go home!"

Academy Awards

Although the film did not win any Academy Awards, it received several nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor (Newman), Best Actress (Taylor), and Best Director (Brooks). The film also received nominations for Best Cinematography, Color (William Daniels), and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

See also

External links


  1. ^ Parish, James Robert; Mank, Gregory W.; Stanke, Don E. (1978), The Hollywood Beauties, New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House Publishers, p. 326, ISBN 0-87000-412-3  
  2. ^ Parish, p. 329


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a 1958 film about an alcoholic ex-football player who drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife. His reunion with his father, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.

Directed by Richard Brooks. Written by Richard Brooks and James Poe, based on the play by Tennessee Williams.
This is Maggie the Cat... taglines
Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.


Maggie the Cat

  • One of those no-neck monsters hit me with some ice cream. Their fat little heads sit on their fat little bodies without a bit of connection... You can't wring their necks if they got no necks to wring. Isn't that right, honey?... Think of it, they've got five monsters and number six comin' up.
  • Truth! Truth! Everybody keeps hollerin' about the truth. Well, the truth is as dirty as lies.
  • Living with somebody you love can be lonelier than living entirely alone, if the one you love doesn't love you.

Big Daddy

  • But there's one thing you can't buy in a Europe firesale or in any other market on earth. And that's your life. You can't buy back your life when it's finished... The human animal is a beast that eventually has to die. And if he's got money, he buys and he buys and he buys. The reason why he buys everything he can is because his crazy hope is one of the things he buys will be life everlasting — which it never can be.
  • What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it, Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?... There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity... You can smell it. It smells like death.


Maggie: Why can't you lose your good looks, Brick? Most drinkin' men lose theirs. Why can't you? I think you've even gotten better-lookin' since you went on the bottle. You were such a wonderful lover... You were so excitin' to be in love with. Mostly, I guess, 'cause you were... If I thought you'd never never make love to me again... why, I'd find me the longest, sharpest knife I could and I'd stick it straight into my heart. I'd do that. Oh, Brick, how long does this have to go on? This punishment? Haven't I served my term? Can't I apply for a pardon?
Brick: Lately, that finishin' school voice of yours sounds like you was runnin' upstairs to tell somebody the house is on fire.
Maggie: Is it any wonder? You know what I feel like? I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Brick: Then jump off the roof, Maggie, jump off it. Now cats jump off roofs and they land uninjured. Do it. Jump.
Maggie: Jump where? Into what?
Brick: Take a lover.
Maggie: I don't deserve that! I can't see any man but you. With my eyes closed, I just see you. Why can't you get ugly, Brick? Why can't you please get fat or ugly or somethin' so I can stand it?
Brick: You'll make out fine. Your kind always does.
Maggie: Oh, I'm more determined than you think. I'll win all right.
Brick: Win what? What is, uh, the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?
Maggie: Just stayin' on it, I guess. As long as she can.

Brick: Somethin' hasn't happened yet.
Big Daddy: What's that?
Brick: A click in my head.
Big Daddy: Did you say "click"?
Brick: Yes sir, the click in my head that makes me feel peaceful.
Big Daddy: Boy, sometimes you worry me.
Brick: It's like a switch, clickin' off in my head. Turns the hot light off and the cool one on, and all of a sudden there's peace.
Big Daddy: Boy, you're, you're a real alcoholic!
Brick: That is the truth. Yes, sir, I am an alcoholic. So if you'd just excuse me...
Big Daddy: [grabbing him] No, I won't excuse you.
Brick: Now I'm waitin' for that click and I don't get it. Listen, I'm all alone. I'm talkin' to no one where there's absolute quiet.
Big Daddy: You'll hear plenty of that in the grave soon enough.

Big Daddy: But it's always there in the morning, ain't it — the truth? And it's here right now. You're just feelin' sorry for yourself. That's all it is — self-pity. You didn't kill Skipper. He killed himself. You and Skipper and millions like ya are livin' in a kid's world, playin' games, touchdowns, no worries, no responsibilities. Life ain't no damn football game. Life ain't just a bunch of high spots. You're a thirty-year-old kid. Soon you'll be a fifty-year-old kid, pretendin' you're hearin' cheers when there ain't any. Dreamin' and drinkin' your life away. Heroes in the real world live twenty-four hours a day, not just two hours in a game. Mendacity, you won't... you won't live with mendacity, but you're an expert at it. The truth is pain and sweat and payin' bills and makin' love to a woman that you don't love any more. Truth is dreams that don't come true and nobody prints your name in the paper 'til you die... The truth is, you never growed up. Grown-ups don't hang up on their friends... and they don't hang up on their wives... and they don't hang up on life. Now that's the truth and that's what you can't face!
Brick: Can you face the truth?
Big Daddy: Try me!
Brick: You or somebody else's truth?
Big Daddy: Bull. You're runnin' again.
Brick: Yeah, I am runnin.' Runnin' from lies, lies like birthday congratulations and many happy returns of the day when there won't be any.
Big Daddy I'll outlive you. I'll bury you. I'll buy your coffin... It's death, ain't it?
Brick: You said it yourself, Big Daddy. Mendacity is a system we live in.

Big Daddy: I suddenly noticed that you don't call me Big Daddy any more. Ah, if you needed a Big Daddy, why didn't you come to me? You wanted somebody to lean on. Why Skipper and why not me? I'm your father! I'm Big Daddy. Me! Why didn't you come to your kinfolks, the peoples that love ya?
Brick: You don't know what love means. To you, it's just another four letter word.
Big Daddy: Why, you've got a mighty short memory. What was there that you wanted that I didn't buy for ya.
Brick: You can't buy love! You bought yourself a million dollars worth of junk. Look at it. Does it love you?
Big Daddy: Who'd you think I bought it for? Me? It's yours. The place, the money, every rotten thing is yours!
Brick: I don't want things! [pushes down and smashes vases, an old athletic trophy and other accumulated objects] Waste! Worthless! Worthless! [destroys a life-sized poster of himself throwing a football and then breaks down in a fit of uncontrollable tears]
Big Daddy: Don't, son. Please don't cry, boy. That's funny. I never saw you cry before. How's that? Did you ever cry?
Brick: Can't you understand? I never wanted your place or your money or any—... I don't wanna own anything. All I wanted was a father, not a boss — I wanted you to love me.
Big Daddy: I did and I do.
Brick: No. Not me, and not Gooper, and not even Mama.
Big Daddy: That's a lie. I did love her. I give her anything, everything she wanted.
Brick: Things. Things, Papa. You gave her things. A house, a trip to Europe, all this junk, some jewelry, things. You gave her things, Papa, not love.
Big Daddy: I gave, I gave her an empire, boy.
Brick: The men who build empires die, and empires die, too.
Big Daddy: No. No, it won't. That's why I've got you and Gooper.
Brick: Look at Gooper. Look at what he's become. Is that what you wanted him to be? And look at me. You put it very well indeed. I'm a thirty-year-old kid, and pretty soon I'm gonna be a fifty-year-old kid. I don't know what to believe in. Now what's the good of livin' if you've got nothin' to believe in? There's gotta be some, some purpose in life, some meanin.' Look at me. For the sake of God, look at me before it's too late. For once in your life, look at me as I really am. Look at me. I'm a failure. I'm a drunk. On my own in the open market, I'm not worth the price of a decent burial.


  • This is Maggie the Cat...
  • Every sultry moment of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize Play is now on the screen!


External links



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