The Fugitive Kind
Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Joanne Woodward, Maureen Stapleton,
From its compelling opening soliloquy—Marlon Brando pleading before an unseen judge (the camera eye)—The Fugitive Kind announces itself as a film that, like its protagonist, takes crazy, brilliant risks. A wayfaring stranger, Brando’s Val “Snakeskin” Xavier has wandered into one of Tennessee Williams’s waking nightmares, where the men are sadists and the women, caged birds. Anna Magnani plays the wife of a tyrannical invalid; her desire, ambivalence, and beauty are aroused by the newcomer. Brando and Magnani are two brilliantly mismatched actors: he unmasks in verse, while she reveals herself in bruised bluntness.