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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Glass Menagerie (1973)

Tennessee Williams’ THE GLASS MENAGERIE is a delicate, fragile memory piece, almost as fragile as its heroine, Laura Wingfield. When done correctly, it can be heartbreaking. Alas, this filmed production lacks the both the humor and the nuance to make it work, it’s altogether too heavy handed and it suffers awfully by a terrible performance by Katharine Hepburn in the central role of Amanda, the matriarch of the impoverished Wingfield family. Hepburn’s strong Yankee countenance is all wrong for the faded girlish Southern belle (though the young Hepburn might have made an effective Laura) and while she can be a monster, Amanda is never annoying which is what Hepburn’s performance is. Joanna Miles is surprisingly effective considering how physically wrong she is for the role, Sam Waterston as Tom seems more self centered than seems necessary but Michael Moriarty as the gentleman caller seems to have a strong sense of his character which is a relief. Directed by Anthony Harvey (who directed Hepburn to an Oscar in THE LION IN WINTER), photography by Oscar winner Billy Williams (GANDHI) and the sparse score is by John Barry.

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