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The Night Of The Iguana Blu-ray Review

“The Night Of The Iguana” is an involving Tennessee Williams adaptation. 

Based on the stage play by Tennessee Williams, 1964’s film version of “The Night Of The Iguana” revolves around a disgraced Episcopal Priest (Reverend Shannon) who has been locked out of the church due to a nervous breakdown and sexual misconduct with a Sunday school teacher. Years later, Shannon leads a bus tour to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where trouble finds him yet again when a teen girl (Charlotte) tries to hit on him. Charlotte’s caretaker (a vindictive and judgmental teacher named Judith) accuses Shannon of wrongdoing and seeks to ruin him and his current job. In order to try and stop Judith from attempting to get him fired, Shannon takes a detour to a run down but picturesque hotel run by the recently widowed Maxine. Shannon removes the distributor cap to the bus and tries to block Judith from making a call. While at the hotel, Shannon meets a broke painter (Hannah) and her frail poet grandfather (Nonno). As Shannon’s life continues to spiral out of control, his newfound acquaintances just might be able to help get his life on track. 

Written by Anthony Veiller and John Huston (who also directed the film), “The Night Of The Iguana” is a top tier Tennessee Williams adaptation. One of the common flaws with a big screen adaptation of a Williams play is that they look and feel stagy. Granted, ‘Iguana’ is very much a talky character piece, but Huston manages to give this movie a very cinematic feel as he brings this deep character drama about lust, temptation,  faith, mental health, personal demons, death, mistakes, connections, and new beginnings to life in a visual manner. Not only does the Mexico location shooting add so much visually, but the film is scattered with symbolic visuals as well. 

Huston is aided by a truly extraordinary cast with Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Karr, Sue Lyon (best known for “Lolita”), Grayson Hall and Cyril Delevanti. Everyone is note perfect in their very layered roles, but it’s Ava Gardner who steals the show as the outspoken Maxine who has her own demons. It’s a crime she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar (although the Golden Globes did nominate her) as she gives such a grand performance.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W print is crisp and clear. Fans will no doubt be pleased by the results.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? It’s a little snowy in spots but satisfactory overall.

Extras include teaser and theatrical trailers, the 10 minute bonus feature about the making of the film in “The Night Of The Iguana: Huston’s Gamble” and a behind-the-scenes featurette titled “On The Trail Of The Iguana.”

“The Night Of The Iguana” is available on the Warner Archive store on Amazon and through other online retailers.

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January 13, 2023 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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