Cinema: A Small Thing but His Own

Summer and Smoke (Hal Wallis; Paramount). Playwright Tennessee Williams often writes like an arrested adolescent who disarmingly imagines that he will attain stature if (as short boys are advised in Dixie) he loads enough manure in his shoes. In his most famous plays he has hallucinated a vast but specious pageant of depravity in which fantasies of incest, cannibalism, murder, rape, sodomy and drug addiction constitute the canon of reality. Yet Broadway's bad boy has his sweet-mouthed moments, and Summer and Smoke (1948) is one of them: one of the few plays Williams...

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