Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Long Live Liz!
Thursday, May 9, 2024, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm  
Instructor: Raymond Saraceni, Ph.D., Eastern University

“There ain’t nothing more powerful than the odor of mendacity,” observes Burl Ives’s Big Daddy in a moment of self-awareness. Indeed, Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama and the 1958 film it spawned seek to expose the lies and self-deceptions that underpin not only the prosperous Southern family at the center of the dramatic action, but also the mendacity at the heart of 1950s America. Nevertheless, this powerful film helmed by Philadelphia’s own Richard Brooks (and featuring bravura performances by Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman) seems to evade just as often as it confronts the lies and subterfuges that both Williams and Brooks sought to take on. Indeed, it is in the tension between evasion and confrontation that the film comes most fully alive.  

This seminar will explore the relationship between Williams’s drama and Brooks’s film: the clashes of temperament, the compromises, the sullen revisions, and bold rolls of the dice that produced a Hollywood classic. At the center of this tale, we encounter Taylor at the peak of her stardom and Newman at the beginning of his own, as well as one of the greatest American dramatists seeking both to protect and promote some of his finest work—not to mention an often-overlooked director whose career successfully negotiated the transition from the studio era into the independent productions of the ’60s and ’70s.

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Thursday, May 9 · 6:30 pm