Suddenly, Last Summer (film)

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Suddenly, Last Summer is a 1959 movie about a young woman who seems to go insane after her cousin dies under unknown circumstances. The cousin's mother tries to hide the truth about his homosexuality and his death. She wants the girl lobotomized to cover the truth.

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Written by Tennessee Williams (play & screenplay) and Gore Vidal (screenplay).
These are powers and passions without precedent in a motion picture. (taglines)

Catherine Holly[edit]

  • Is that what love is? Using people? And maybe that's what hate is - not being able to use people.
  • Truth is the one thing I've never resisted.
  • [being sedated] Who was it that said we were all a bunch of kindergarteners trying to spell God's name with the wrong alphabet blocks?

Mrs. Venable[edit]

  • I've buried a husband and a son. I'm a widow and a... Funny, there's no word. Lose your parents, you're an orphan. Lose your only son and you are... Nothing.
  • Strictly speaking, his life was his occupation. Yes, yes, Sebastian was a poet. That's what I meant when I said his life was his work because the work of a poet is the life of a poet, and vice versa, the life of a poet is the work of a poet. I mean, you can't separate them. I mean, a poet's life is his work, and his work is his life in a special sense.
  • Most people's lives, what are they but trails of debris - each day more debris, more debris... long, long trails of debris, with nothing to clean it all up but death.
  • Sebastian said, 'Truth is the bottom of a bottomless well.'
  • My son, Sebastian and I constructed our days. Each day we would carve each day like a piece of sculpture, leaving behind us a trail of days like a gallery of sculpture until suddenly, last summer.

Dr. Cukrowicz[edit]

  • Nature is not made in the image of man's compassion.


Dr. Cukrowicz: May I sit here?
Mrs. Venable: Sebastian's seat.
Dr. Cukrowicz: Oh! Well...
Mrs. Venable: Oh, no no please, please. It's a court jester's chair, a rare one, five-hundred years old. Please, sit on it. Say something funny; make me stop wanting to cry.

Mrs. Venable: She suffers from something called dementia praecox.
Dr. Cukrowicz: Dementia praecox?
Mrs. Venable: Which is say, she's mad as a hatter, poor child.

Dr. Cukrowicz: Mrs. Venable, loving your niece as you do, you must know there's great risk in this operation. Whenever you enter the brain with a foreign object...
Mrs. Venable: Yes.
Dr. Cukrowicz: Even a needle thin knife.
Mrs. Venable: Yes.
Dr. Cukrowicz: In the hands of the most skilled surgeon...
Mrs. Venable: Yes, yes.
Dr. Cukrowicz: There is a great deal of risk.
Mrs. Venable: But it does pacify them, I've read that, it quiets them down. It suddenly makes them peaceful.
Dr. Cukrowicz: Yes that, that it does do, but...
Mrs. Venable: But what?
Dr. Cukrowicz: Well it will be years before we know if the immediate benefits of the operation are lasting or maybe just passing or perhaps... there's a strong possibility that the patient will always be limited. Relieved of acute anxiety yes, but limited.
Mrs. Venable: But what a blessing Dr. to be just peaceful. To be just suddenly peaceful. After all that horror. After those nightmares. Just to be able to lift up their eyes to a sky not black with savage devouring birds.

Mrs. Grace Holly: You'll be fine... after your little operation...
Catherine Holly: There's only ONE little operation performed here, Mama, it's on the brain! It's called a lobotomy! You may have heard of it, or read about it, I know I have! They bore HOLES into your skull!

Catherine Holly: Cut the truth out of my brain... is that what you want Aunt Vi? Well you can't. Not even God can change the truth that we were nothing but a pair of...
Mrs. Venable: Doctor!
Catherine Holly: It's the truth!
Mrs. Venable: See how she destroys us with her tongue for a hatchet? You've got to cut this hideous story out of her brain.
Catherine Holly: How much are you willing to pay for that Aunt Vi?

Dr. Cukrowicz: Insane is such a meaningless term.
Catherine Holly: But lobotomy has a precising meaning to it, doesn't it?


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