Slide 10: Mrs. Violet Venable (Suddenly, Last Summer)
What can you say about a mother who attempts to bribe a psychiatrist to lobotomize a young woman in order to keep her son's homosexuality a secret? In Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film version of Tennessee Williams' play Suddenly, Last Summer (with a screenplay penned by none other than Gore Vidal), Katherine Hepburn plays the venerable Mrs. Violet Venable, a mother so controlling and overbearing as to validate every pop-Freudian theory of homosexuality. After pimping herself for years for her son Sebastian Venable's need for young boy flesh, the mother Venable abdicated the role to her niece (Elizabeth Taylor), who goes crazy when she witnesses Sebastian devoured by the street boys he had once preyed upon. Mrs. Venerable attempts to force Dr. John Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift) to cut out that awful secret with a scalpel from her niece's brain, so she might protect her son's reputation. Legend has it Hepburn showed her own protectiveness to another homosexual, Monty Clift, whom she felt was being mistreated by the film's producer, Sam Spiegel. On the last day of shooting, she supposed spit in his face.