Wednesday, August 14, 2013

THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (1964): "Lolita" Seduces a Priest

Here's part of the storyline posted on IMDb for The Night of the Iguana (1964):

The Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon has been living in Mexico for two years, working as a tourist guide for a cut-rate travel agency. Shannon lost his church and was defrocked after taking liberties with one of his parishioners. He's now accompanying a group of middle-aged ladies from Texas whose leader, Judith Fellowes, is keeping a close eye on her teenage ward, Charlotte Goodall [(Sue Lyon)], who definitely has an interest in the former priest. After Charlotte and Shannon spend the night together, Fellowes is out to have him fired [...]

Lolita (1962) fans are well-aware that Sue Lyon was 14 when she was cast into Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Nabokov's novel. However, did you know that Lyon played a similar role, at the age of 17, in The Night of the Iguana (1964), which is based on Tennessee Williams' play?

In The Night of the Iguana (1964), Charlotte Goodall (Sue Lyon), a nymphet, enters Reverend Shannon's bedroom and seduces the Episcopal priest, who was played by the alleged real-life ephebophile Richard Burton. 

The seduction comes after Reverend Shannon was seduced (off screen) by "a very young Sunday school teacher." However, in both cases, the Reverend was accused of being the aggressor and in the wrong.

It may sound counter-intuitive that a 17-year-old may be attracted to a priest or monk, but the mindset of priests and pimps are similar. Consequently, they're similarly attractive to (young) women.

The teleiophile themed The Night of the Iguana won an Oscar, grossed $12 million worldwide at the box office, earned $4.5 million in US theatrical rentals, and was the 10th highest grossing film of 1964. And Time magazine said the film, " [...] excites the senses, persuades the mind, and even occasionally speaks to the spirit—one of the best movies ever made from a Tennessee Williams play."

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