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Tennessee Williams’ overt criticism of mendacity which is at the heart of those in pursuit of social superiority within traditional 1950s’ conformities in his play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, explores how an individual in post-war America, can be both a victim and a perpetrator of the aforementioned. Inverting Williams’ interpretation, Richard Brooks’ film adaptation conveys this concept in an encouraging light, using alterations to ultimately warp the literary intentions of the play itself.
Throughout, characters demand ‘mendacity’ of each other, yet they hide their truths, even from themselves.
The film, too, keeps us in the dark about the actual nature of several relationships. We’re meant to glean the reality of the situation from fleeting hints and weighty glances. This can prove frustrating, especially when it comes to Brick’s best friend and football teammate Skipper, who committed suicide. We never see Skipper, but his presence haunts Brick’s marriage; in Williams’ play, the romantic and sexual bond these men shared was evident, but the film discards that except for scant subtext.
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