poster of The Night of the Iguana
Rating: 7.123/10 by 142 users

The Night of the Iguana (1964)

A defrocked Episcopal clergyman leads a bus-load of middle-aged Baptist women on a tour of the Mexican coast and comes to terms with the failure haunting his life.

  • John Huston
  • Tom Shaw
  • Angela Allen
  • Jaime Contreras
  • Terry Morse Jr.
  • Anthony Veiller
  • John Huston
  • Tennessee Williams
Release Date: Thu, Aug 06, 1964

Rating: 7.123/10 by 142 users

Alternative Title:
La noche de la iguana - AR
Нощта на игуаната - BG
A Noite do Iguana - BR
Fanget i natten - DK
Liskojen yö - FI
La nuit de l'iguane - FR
I nyhta tis Iguana - GR
Az iguána éjszakája - HU
La notte dell'iguana - IT

United States of America
Runtime: 01 hour 58 minutes
Budget: $3,000,000
Revenue: $12,000,000

Plot Keyword: hotel, mexico, bus, tourist, minister, poet, bus driver, based on play or musical, tourist guide, priest, tour bus, church, alcoholic, guide, broken glass, sketch artist, iguana, spinster, hammock, introspective
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Richard Burton
Rev. Dr. T. Lawrence Shannon
Ava Gardner
Maxine Faulk
Deborah Kerr
Hannah Jelkes
Sue Lyon
Charlotte Goodall
Skip Ward
Hank Prosner
Grayson Hall
Judith Fellowes
Mary Boylan
Miss Peebles
Gladys Hill
Mlle Dexter (uncredited)
Emilio Fernández
Barkeeper (uncredited)
Eloise Hardt
Teacher (uncredited)


_**Melodrama on the Mexican Coast with Burton, Gardner and Kerr**_ Released in 1964 and directed by John Huston based on Tennessee Williams' play, "The Night of the Iguana" stars Richard Burton as a defrocked Episcopal minister who resorts to a job leading bus tours on the Mexican west coast. As he guides a group of middle-aged Baptist women to Puerto Vallarta, he struggles with the attentions of a teen sexpot (Sue Lyon) and the antagonism of her curmudgeonly ward (Grayson Hall). The group ends up at a bed & breakfast where the effervescent proprietor (Ava Gardner) and a spiritual artist (Deborah Kerr) aid the ex-clergyman in coming to terms with the failures haunting him. Skip Ward plays the hunky bus tour assistant. As much as I appreciate this drama, it's too bad it was shot in B&W as color would've really enhanced it, particularly considering the resort setting. (I'll never understand why filmmakers insist on shooting in B&W when color is readily available). The movie is also marred by some contrived melodrama with Burton guilty of chewing too much scenery. At the same time, it's interesting to go back in time with these old dramas and observe the artificialities of the (over)acting based on the contrivances of an inflexible script. Despite my criticisms, there's a lot to savor here. The rich (and sometimes synthetic) dialogue is full of gems to mine. The film is an honest rumination on the human condition. The theme is to cease struggling and to ride out the hardships of life, whether they're the result of one's own folly or otherwise. The answer will come; just be on the look-out for the "messenger" or "assistant" and, of course, accept. On other fronts, Sue Lyon is outstanding as the Lolita, probably because she literally played Lolita in her previous film, 1962's "Lolita." Thankfully, she's more womanly here. She was 17 during filming and thoroughly sumptuous, particularly in her short shorts. Gardner also looked great at 41, but her character is too boozy and it's a turn-off. She's well contrasted by the almost saintly Kerr. Interestingly, there's a brief denouncement of lesbianism, which wouldn't work today. In our current upside down culture it would be hailed as the highest good, worthy of a call from the President (rolling my eyes). RUNTIME: 118 minutes. SHOOTING LOCATIONS: Puerto Vallarta and Mismaloya Village, Mexico. GRADE: B

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