Brooks' second involvement with Tennessee Williams has Newman repeating his Broadway role as the no longer quite pristine gigolo who returns to his home town with fading movie queen (Page) in tow, scheming to establish himself as someone in the eyes of the corrupt political boss (Begley) who once ran him out of town for aspiring to marry his daughter (Knight). Like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the play gets the glossy clean-up treatment, so that Newman's comeuppance (what he hadn't realised in leaving town was that he also left Knight pregnant) no longer comes through castration, but simply by having his pretty face messed up a bit. It might still have worked, except that Brooks' direction seems a little too stolid for all the sleazy, flaming passions. These are, however, given full measure by an excellent cast. Geraldine Page, in particular (like Newman, repeating her Broadway role) is stunningly and wittily outsized in her rendition of the ageing movie queen seeking refuge in a haze of drink, drugs and sex.
Sweet Bird of Youth
Cast and crew