Movie Review – The Night of the Iguana (1964)

The Night of the Iguana, based on the Tennessee Williams play, is a 1964 film starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr.  It is a dramatic picture with a real emotional core to it.  Almost every single character we are introduced to is broken or damaged in some way.  From Burton, the fallen priest to Kerr the painter’s daughter and Ava Gardner as the innkeeper – all are represented as less than a whole person.

For myself, I believe that is what makes the film so relatable.  To see such human flaws realized on the silver screen and portrayed in such a fashion you can’t help but identify with them.  Even though their faults may not be your own, in some fashion they can almost be and due to the acting, writing, direction and more, they become so.

The script is flawless, which as I mentioned earlier was taken from a Tennessee Williams play.  It’s sharp and clever and packs a punch with nearly every line.  The various actors deliver the lines as if they have actually lived them and you believe that they have.  The production and the direction that went into this film is also really nice to see as many of today’s filmmakers do not seem to know what they are doing in comparison.  Burton, Gardner and Kerr are incredible in this film.  You can see they are giving it their all and it showed in the finished product.

Sure, some might think it a chore to watch a film about emotionally damaged people and in many cases it could be true.  With the Night of the Iguana it is not and that is one of the good things about this film.  It is a little dreary and a little sad and a little hopeless but it is also a little empowering and even a wee bit fulfilling.  If that was the intention of the cast and crew, then they succeeded.  I highly recommend this film.  It is an achievement the cinema does not see too often.

5 out of 5

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