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Group Reads: Pre-1990 > Final Impressions: The Night of the Iguana: January 2018

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message 1: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 2645 comments Mod
Comments on this board are made with the assumption that readers have finished the book and may include spoilers.

message 2: by Dustincecil (new)

Dustincecil | 178 comments Sort of a yawn for me. I'm sure Bette Davis was incredible in this on the stage..

message 3: by Brina (new)

Brina I found it interesting as Williams explored ageism, classism, and sexism. Forward looking for the era he depicted here.

message 4: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brina wrote: "I found it interesting as Williams explored ageism, classism, and sexism. Forward looking for the era he depicted here."

I agree with this. I love the idea that you choose your family (a beautiful speech by Deborah Kerr in the movie - I presume it's in the play, but I'm still waiting for my copy through Open Library). Williams had a real maturity.

message 5: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 450 comments The last act with Shannon and Hannah on the verandah, when he is having a breakdown, was my favorite part of the play. Like many other Tennessee Williams' plays, there were themes of mental illness, loneliness, sexual problems, and questioning faith/religion.

I found the German tourists (or ex-pats) marching through the first act annoying since they weren't involved in the plot. The war news on their radio showed us that the play was set around 1940, but that did not seem important to the plot.

message 6: by Judi (new)

Judi | 454 comments I agree with Connie that the last act of the play was the most cohesive. Pretty much summed things up. I also agree with her that the German tourists were of little interest other than to set the time line of the play. Decent work. I enjoyed reading a play.

message 7: by Sara, "Ivy Rowe" (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 1202 comments Mod
I'm not sure what I really thought of this. I keep hoping that as I toss it over in my mind I will come to an epiphany, but I don't think it lives up to Tenn Williams' other works.

Hannah and her tenderness with the grandfather were the salvation of this play. I did not care for Larry, who seems to me to whine about his lot instead of doing something to improve it. Hannah is right, I think, when she says he conducts the tours to suit his own tastes without any consideration of his clients. His sexual exploitations are fairly disgusting, regardless of what Mama might have done to curb his natural desire to satisfy himself.

And, I totally agree with Connie that the Germans were a bit of aggravation that served to interrupt and little else. I do wonder if they offered comic relief when played on stage? Although what could be funny about 1940's Nazis. Perhaps we were meant to remember that the whole world is falling apart, not just Larry Shannon.

At least I was happy that he released the poor iguana.

message 8: by Dustincecil (new)

Dustincecil | 178 comments The Movie was a miss for me too. I thought all of the women came across as overacting and hokey. Good for anyone with a priest fantasy though.

Why an iguana? Other than bebcase of the location, it seems like such a random selection of an animal.

message 9: by Sara, "Ivy Rowe" (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 1202 comments Mod
Makes for a lyrical title, Night of the Coati just doesn't have the same ring to it. And, I suppose it had to be something that could be eaten. :)

message 10: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenfrances) | 17 comments Hmm, strange one. Maybe this is one of those plays that is better in performance (shock, horror!). I'd love to see the Deborah Kerr film having read others' posts here... I'm sure she could add some pathos to some of the more tender scenes.
I suppose I'm left a little unsatisfied, mainly because the characters were all on a plate. There wasn't a whole lot left to unravel, and I wasn't sure how much I really cared for any of them. I agree with others, the inclusion of an obnoxious, vociferous group of pink, plump Nazi Germans doing the most stereotypical German things (first to the beach, "where's the beer?") was overcooked, but maybe not entirely unnecessary, as their presence goes some way in revealing Maxine's character. While Shannon is world-wise/weary, Maxine seems pulled this way and that towards any kind of human interaction that might stop her having to... stop and think. A one-week old widow who's affected by the charm of the grotesque and welcomes their clamour acts as a kind of metaphor for Shannon's own despair with faith, and mankind.

message 11: by Sara, "Ivy Rowe" (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 1202 comments Mod
Great analysis, Helen. I had not thought of the Germans as light cast on Maxine, but of course you are right, they are.

message 12: by Doug H (last edited Jan 19, 2018 06:00AM) (new)

Doug H I shelfed this as "Unfinished" halfway through Act 2, so I can't honestly rate and review it. I'm just commenting here to clear my head a bit. Maybe I've read too much Williams and am tired of him at this point or maybe this is not his best or maybe I simply am saturated with too many real-life grotesques on the political stage every time I turn on the news, but I wasn't feeling it at all and life is too short. I may not have gotten far enough into it, but the characters all seemed like Williams stereotypes to me. I kept seeing Stanley Kowalski in Shannon and Laura Wingfield in Hannah and Leona Dawson from Small Craft Warnings in Maxine.

I might watch the film and come back to this at a later date... okay, probably not.

message 13: by Sara, "Ivy Rowe" (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 1202 comments Mod
I can understand your feelings, Doug. I could easily have laid it down at the end of Act One and never thought of it again. It is not TW's best effort.

message 14: by Erika (new)

Erika B | 14 comments The first 26 pages the drama kept me going but it just seems like drama dies down after 26 page and put book down since it lost me after 26 page.

message 15: by Erika (new)

Erika B | 14 comments The one things that kind of driving me nuts is how to hotel was not made for someone with a disability . I am so glad most places are not like that any more.

message 16: by Franky (new)

Franky | 327 comments Doug wrote: "I shelfed this as "Unfinished" halfway through Act 2, so I can't honestly rate and review it. I'm just commenting here to clear my head a bit. Maybe I've read too much Williams and am tired of him ..."

I'm a little late to the party here, but I'm finally about half way through Act 2 and feeling the same about this one. This seems far inferior to the likes of A Streetcar Named Desire or The Glass Menagerie or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The characters seem to be more caricatures, and aren't developed as much through dialogue or scenes.

Williams' characters definitely have a brashness to them, and I'm finding that in these characters.

message 17: by Candi (new)

Candi (candih) | 208 comments This was my second Williams play, with a Streetcar Named Desire having been my first. I agree with the general consensus here - I definitely didn't love it, but didn't particularly dislike it either. I don't often read plays, and I'm glad that I didn't start here with Williams, otherwise I may not have bothered to pick up another. The only characters I cared about were Hannah and her grandfather. I have a feeling I might like this more on stage.

message 18: by Franky (last edited Feb 04, 2018 10:02PM) (new)

Franky | 327 comments This play was a mess to me. I couldn't get invested in any characters except Hannah. I actually thought in Act 2 there were moments of insight into Shannon and his conflicted mindset. But, over all, I just thought everything was haphazard, uneven in the way dialogue/events were presented. Many characters who just act impulsively without thinking.

I'm currently watching the film and it does give a bigger significance of the play in terms of theme.

As Candi said, seeing this acted out in an onstage performance might give more credence to the play.

message 19: by B. R. (new)

B. R. Reed (mtmoon) | 117 comments I agree with both Franky and Candi's last comments. I never saw the play and reading the play was a chore for me. Enjoyed the movie. It is my understanding that the movie set location was preserved or reconstructed and can be visited down in MX. Perhaps by boat only? Not sure.

message 20: by Patrick (last edited Feb 05, 2018 01:47PM) (new)

Patrick I love the play and the movie both. Great atmosphere.

I believe that the movie set has crumbled completely away, but you can still visit the general location in Mismaloya south of Puerto Vallarta. There was an open-air bar with a huge patio on the site when I visited in 2003. Lots of great information here: https://www.puertovallarta.net/fast_f...

In Puerto Vallarta itself, the home that Richard Burton bought for Elizabeth Taylor, Casa Kimberly, has been converted into a small hotel, with a restaurant / bar called The Iguana: http://casakimberly.com/

I toured Casa Kimberly (very nice!) in 2003 when it was under different ownership. My guide was Don Gallery, the son of silent film star Barbara La Marr, who lived fast and died young at age 29. Don was adopted by her friend, fellow star ZaSu Pitts, and her husband, film executive Tom Gallery. He later dated the young Elizabeth Taylor and remained friends with her. He was also friends with John Huston and the entire Huston clan.

When Don realized that I was a knowledgeable film buff and even knew about the silent film era, he shared a lot of information with me and pulled out all his scrapbooks. We corresponded by email for a little while thereafter. Don Gallery was quite a guy, and I am lucky to have met him. He passed away in 2014 at age 92: https://www.vallartatribune.com/don-g...

message 21: by Franky (new)

Franky | 327 comments Patrick wrote: "I love the play and the movie both. Great atmosphere.

I believe that the movie set has crumbled away, but you can still visit the general location in Mismaloya south of Puerto Vallarta. There was ..."

Patrick, that's pretty cool how you visited the site and thanks for the post and relating your experience. I'll check out those links.

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