Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (film)

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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

Maggie the Cat[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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.

Dialogue[edit]

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.

Gooper: [Helping himself to some liquor] Brick... What, uh, what were you and Big Daddy talkin' about down there?
Brick: Us.
Gooper: Me too?
Brick: Yeah, you too.
Mae: You ripped him apart, your own brother!
Brick: You believe that Gooper?
Gooper: [smiles] No.
Mae: Well I do!
Gooper: [undertone] Keep still.
Brick: No, family crisis brings out the best and the worst in every member of the family.
Gooper: That's the truth.
Maggie: Amen.
Mae: [stalking over to her] You want to talk about the truth!? You're not pregnant.
Gooper: Keep still, Mae.
Mae: She made it up!
Gooper: [slightly angrily] I said shut up.
Mae: Don't you try to kid us, Maggie.
Brick: Mae. [she rounds on him] She's not kiddin' ya.
Mae: How can she have a child by you!? When you won't even - !
Gooper: Mae, will you keep quiet!
Mae: We occupy the next room, and the walls between aren't sound-proof! We hear the nightly pleadin', and the nightly refusal!
Brick: Sister Woman, not everybody makes as much noise about love as you do.
[Mae gasps in shock. Brick smiles and goes upstairs]
Mae: [indignantly] Brick! I never thought that you would stoop to her level!
Brick: Well, you heard what Big Daddy said. That girl's got life in her body.
Mae: THAT'S A LIE!
Brick: No! [chuckling] Oh, truth is something desperate, and Maggie's got it. Believe me, it is desperate, and she has got it.
Mae: [Turning to Gooper] Why don't you say somethin' honey!?
Gooper: Alright, honey... SHUT UP!
Brick: [calling downstairs] Maggie!
Maggie: Yes?
Brick: Come on up hear.
Maggie: [eagerly] Yes sir
[Maggie goes upstairs, while Brick turns off the lights in their room]
Gooper: [watching her go] Yup. That girl's got life on her alright.
[Gooper smiles and raises his glass to her. Mae, who has collapsed on the stairs in defeat, looks up at him despairingly]

Taglines[edit]

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

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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