Baby Doll

  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Elia Kazan, Tennessee Williams
  • Writers: Tennessee Williams
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach

In the Mississippi Delta, failing, bigoted, middle-aged cotton gin-owner Archie Lee Meighan (Karl Malden) has been married to pretty, empty-headed 19-year old virgin Baby Doll Meighan (Carroll Baker) for two years. Archie impatiently waits for Baby Doll’s 20th birthday just a few days away when, by prior agreement with Baby Doll’s dying father, the marriage can finally be consummated. In the meantime, Baby Doll still sleeps in a crib, wearing childish shorty-nightgowns and sucking her thumb, while Archie spies on her through a hole in a wall of their decrepit antebellum mansion, “Fox Tail”.

Archie’s competitor, Sicilian Silva Vacarro (Eli Wallach), who owns a newer and more modern cotton gin, has taken away all of Archie’s business, and Archie retaliates by burning down Vacarro’s gin. Suspecting Archie as the arsonist, Vacarro plans his revenge: he will pursue and seduce Baby Doll and terrorize her into signing an affadavit admitting her husband’s guilt.[4][5][6][2]

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

  • Directors: Richard Brooks
  • Producers: Lawrence Weingarten
  • Writers: Tennessee Williams, Richard Brooks, James Poe
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives

Late one night, Brick Pollitt (Paul Newman) is out trying to recapture his glory days of high school sports by leaping hurdles on a track field, dreaming about his glory moments as a youthful athlete. Unexpectedly, he falls, leaving him dependent on a crutch. Brick, along with his wife, Maggie “the Cat” (Elizabeth Taylor), are seen the next day visiting his family in Mississippi, waiting to celebrate Big Daddy’s 65th birthday.

Depressed, Brick decides to spend his days inside drinking while resisting the affections of his wife, who taunts him about the inheritance of Big Daddy’s wealth. Numerous allusions are made as to their tempestuous marriage–the most haunting of these are speculations as to why Maggie does not yet have children, while Brick’s brother Gooper (Jack Carson) and his wife (Madeleine Sherwood) have a whole clan, many of which run around the “plantation” (as Big Daddy’s estate is called) unsupervised and singing obnoxiously.

Big Daddy (Burl Ives) and Big Mama (Judith Anderson) arrive home from the hospital and are greeted by Gooper and his wife, along with Maggie. The news is that Big Daddy is not dying from cancer. However, the doctor later visits privately with Brick and divulges to him that it is a deception; Big Daddy is a terminal case, but the family wants him to remain happy. Maggie begs Brick to put care into getting his father’s wealth, but Brick stubbornly refuses. When Big Daddy is fed up with his alcoholic son’s behavior, he demands to know why he is so stubborn. Brick angrily refuses to answer.

Big Daddy learns that he will die from cancer before his birthday. Shaken, he retreats to the basement. Meanwhile, Gooper, his wife, Maggie, and Brick argue over Big Daddy’s will. Finally, Brick descends into the basement, a labyrinth of antiques and family possessions hidden away. Once he finds his father, Brick and Big Daddy confront each other before a large cut-out of Brick in his glory days as an athlete. They eventually decide to give the inheritance to Maggie, who “has life.” Brick, with his troubles behind him, and the couple finally shares a long kiss.

A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Charles K Feldman
  • Writers: Tennessee Williams
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

As in the play, the film presents Blanche DuBois, a fading but still-attractive Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask delusions of grandeur and alcoholism. Her poise is an illusion she presents to shield others, but most of all herself, from her reality, and an attempt to make herself still attractive to new male suitors. Blanche arrives from their hometown of Auriol, Mississippi (Laurel, Mississippi in the play) at the apartment of her sister Stella Kowalski in the Faubourg Marigny of New Orleans, on Elysian Fields Avenue; the local transportation she takes to arrive there includes a streetcar route named “Desire”. The steamy, urban ambiance is a shock to Blanche’s nerves. Explaining that her ancestral southern plantation, Belle Reve in Auriol, Mississippi, has been “lost” due to the “epic fornications” of her ancestors, Blanche is welcomed with some trepidation by Stella, who fears the reaction of her husband Stanley. Blanche explains to them how her supervisor told her she could take time off from her job as an English teacher because of her upset nerves, when in fact, she has been fired for having an affair with a 17-year-old student. This turns out not to be the only seduction she has engaged in—and, along with other problems, has left Auriol to escape. A brief marriage scarred by the suicide of her spouse, Allen Grey, has led Blanche to live in a world in which her fantasies and illusions are seamlessly mixed with her reality.

Devastated with her sister’s fate, Stella weeps and rejects Stanley’s intention to comfort her and pushes him away. As he cries her name once more (“Stella! Hey Stella!”), Stella clings to her child and vows that she will never return to Stanley again. She goes upstairs to once again seek refuge with her neighbor.