Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Directed by Richard Brooks

An alcoholic ex-football player drinks his days away, having failed to come to terms with his sexuality and his real feelings for his football buddy who died after an ambiguous accident. His wife is crucified by her desperation to make him desire her: but he resists the affections of his wife. His reunion with his father—who is dying of cancer—jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.

[Mile Todd's] death left [Elizabeth Taylor] defenceless against MGM’s demands. They gave her two weeks off before sending her back to work in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In the film she is so magnetic – by turns kittenish and fierce, pleading and tender – that you would never guess she was in mourning. She lost her appetite and in the birthday party scene Burl Ives, who plays her father-in-law, Big Daddy, arranged that, in place of the usual inedible stage food covered in fly spray, there would be real fresh ham and bread and vegetables and that Taylor’s character should be expected to eat it, in order that she should get some nourishment. She said she never forgot this act of kindness.

Bee Wilson (London Review of Books)