Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Produced for the PBS anthology series Great Performances, this adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer constrasts sharply with the previous 1959 Hollywood version. Shorn of the movie's operatic screenplay and the star power of Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, PBS simply offers us the original one-act play, faithfully rendered. In 1937 New Orleans, millionaire matriarch Violet Venable (Maggie Smith) invites a psychiatrist (Rob Lowe, who is exceptional) into her mansion. Violet's son Sebastian died in Spain the previous year under very questionable circumstances. Now she is anxious to have the psychiatrist lobotomize her institutionalized niece Catherine (Natasha Richardson), who witnessed Sebastian's demise. Violet insists that this radical procedure would be in the best interests of the girl; but the psychiatrist suspects that the old woman merely wants to ensure Catherine's silence concerning "l'affaire Sebastian". Suddenly Last Summer first aired January 6, 1993.
dysfunctional, family, mansion, matriarch, millionaire, niece, psychiatry, slice-of-life, witness