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Cat on the Hot Tin Roof

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Essay title: Cat on the Hot Tin Roof

When literature is transformed into film, it goes through a process known as cinematic mutation. This process could not be more noticeable in the production of Tennessee William's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This playwright and later blockbuster film is based on the inner conflicts of honesty, love, and greed. There is a great deal of narrative refraction in the screenplay by Richard Brooks and James Poe. Some major thematic modifications in the film include: Brick Pollitt's sexuality issue, a transcreation of Big Daddy's character, and the addition of visual dimension. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof involves various crises during a time era where lack of communication leads to a lonely embarrassed society. The play plunges into a forbidden subject when main character Brick Pollitt is forced to deal with sexuality issues.

Brick Pollitt is an ex-football star drowning his self-pity in alcohol. He constantly repels his wife and everyone else for a number of obscure reasons. In the book, it is strongly implied that Brick had sexual relations with his deceased friend Skipper. He is disgusted with himself because he believes that anyone who is a pro football player should be masculine, and heterosexual.

In the book, Brick has a long conversation with his father, Big Daddy, concerning his newfound love for liquor since his best friend, Skipper, committed suicide. Big Daddy discretely implies that Brick and Skipper had sexual relations. He tries to show sympathy towards the situation, but Brick immediately lashes out at him. Brick resorts to a heartless act, revealing that the family has been lying to Big Daddy about his terminal illness. Once Big Daddy realizes he is going to die and that the family has deceived him, he bolts from the room crying. He no longer appears in the play.

In the screenplay by Brooks and Poe, the issue of Brick's sexuality is much less discussed. In 1958, Hollywood would not allow sexual subjects sensitive to prejudice. Many of the key lines have been eliminated from the film, causing a lot of narrative refraction. The theme changes quickly when Brick can no longer be confronted about his dark secrets. He and Big Daddy have a talk about their father-son relationship. Brick explains that part of his drinking problem is that Big Daddy does not love anyone.

The final scene in the film caused a severe shift in the theme. Instead of attempting to sleep on the couch, Brick suavely takes his wife, Maggie, to bed. This scene demolishes almost all skepticism about Brick's sexuality, a question that Tennessee Williams intended to leave open for a crucial reason. He was trying to capture the realism in Brick's problems. In the Note of Explanation, Tennessee Williams states, "I don't believe that a conversation, however revelatory, ever effects so immediate a change in the heart or even conduct of a person with Brick's state of spiritual despair." This change in script seemed like a poor attempt to produce a happy ending. To adapt to the film's theme, Big Daddy's character was forced to go through a number of changes.

Big Daddy is a crude, wealthy, stubborn bully in Williams' original version of the play. He has a much shorter role, and leaves his conflicts less resolved. The conversation between Brick and Big Daddy is private, shorter, and more open to the tender subjects at hand. They confront Brick's secret desires for Skipper, although he denies they existed.

In the movie, Big Daddy is a much rounder character. A conversation similar to the one in original play takes place, but is

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