The Fugitive Kind

  • 1960
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Tennessee Williams wrote "Orpheus Descending," the play upon which this film is based, with Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani in mind for the leads, but neither appeared in the play's first, short-lived Broadway run. In this film adaptation, Brando is a snakeskin-jacketed guitarist and singer who leaves New Orleans after getting in trouble with the law. On...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on
Rating:

Tennessee Williams wrote "Orpheus Descending," the play upon which this film is based, with Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani in mind for the leads, but neither appeared in the play's first, short-lived Broadway run. In this film adaptation, Brando is a snakeskin-jacketed guitarist and singer

who leaves New Orleans after getting in trouble with the law. On the road, his car breaks down and he makes his way to the police station at Two Rivers, Mississippi, where the sheriff's wife, Stapleton, offers him food and a night's rest in one of the prison cells. Next day, she points him in the

direction of the local general store owned by Jory, who is hospitalized with terminal cancer, and Jory's Italian wife, Magnani, who hires Brando as a clerk. While Brando rejects the advances of sexually profligate Woodward, there is considerable attraction between Brando and Magnani. Released from

the hospital, Jory sees what's going on and becomes determined to hang on rather than let Brando become the man of the house. Magnani makes it clear to Jory that she's always hated him and everyone else in the town. Later, Brando steals some money from the store, wins in a crap game, and returns

to replace the stolen money. He now has enough of a stake to get out of town. But Magnani is waiting for him and, after they argue, he agrees to stay on. Over Jory's objections, Magnani decides to open a candy store, but while she's off buying stock Brando is accused of "messing with" Stapleton by

local vigilantes (who, in the past, also caused the death of Magnani's father) who threaten him with violence if he doesn't leave town. After Jory's mean-spirited nurse, Chew, implies that Magnani is pregnant by Brando, Brando gets ready to leave and asks Magnani to join him later to start a new

life. As the lovers part, Jory lights a bunch of newspapers and tosses them downstairs from his bedroom into the confectionery (which has been built onto the house). While Brando tries unsuccessfully to smother the flames with his snakeskin jacket, Magnani is shot by Jory. Brando perishes in the

flames as he searches for her, while townspeople gather outside to prevent him from fleeing. Later, Woodward finds the jacket in the fire's debris and notes, "Wild things leave skins behind, so that the fugitive kind can always follow their kind." THE FUGITIVE KIND's failure lies primarily with

Williams, who coscripted this adaptation of his own play. Ill-received on Broadway, Williams' highly personal reworking of the Orpheus and Eurydice legend fared little better with critics and public in the screen version. Set in Mississippi, the movie was actually filmed in Milton, New York, with

interiors shot in the Bronx.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Tennessee Williams wrote "Orpheus Descending," the play upon which this film is based, with Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani in mind for the leads, but neither appeared in the play's first, short-lived Broadway run. In this film adaptation, Brando is a snake… (more)

Show More »