Last of the Mobile Hot Shots
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|Last of the Mobile Hot Shots|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sidney Lumet|
|Produced by||Sidney Lumet|
|Written by||Gore Vidal|
|Based on||The Seven Descents of Myrtle by Tennessee Williams|
|Music by||Quincy Jones|
|Cinematography||James Wong Howe|
|Edited by||Alan Heim|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.-Seven Arts|
|14 January 1970|
Last of the Mobile Hot Shots (1970) is an American drama film. The screenplay by Gore Vidal is based on the Tennessee Williams play The Seven Descents of Myrtle, which opened on Broadway in March 1968 and ran for 29 performances.
Sidney Lumet directed Lynn Redgrave as Myrtle, James Coburn as Jeb, and Robert Hooks as Chicken. The film was made in New Orleans and St. Francisville, Louisiana. It was released as Blood Kin in Europe.
In New Orleans, Myrtle Kane (Lynn Redgrave) and Jeb Thorington (James Coburn) arrive on The Rube Benedict Show where the eponymous host (Reggie King) selects them and another couple as contestants. Despite not knowing each other, the couple wins the competition, and decides to earn $3,500 on one condition to have their marriage ordained by a minister on set. Using the check to restore Waverley Plantation, the couple arrives there, about 100 miles upstream from New Orleans, where Jeb introduces his wife to the decaying plantation mansion his family has owned since 1840. Sometime later, Jeb introduces Myrtle to his multiracial half-brother Chicken – on his father's side – who earned his name for hoarding chickens to the rooftop during their childhood. Myrtle eventually shares her background in show business as the last surviving member of an Alabama female quintet named the Mobile Hot-Shots.
After Myrtle steps out, Jeb and Chicken engage in an argument where Jeb states his ownership over the mansion while Chicken states that when Jeb succumbs to terminal lung cancer, he will become the new owner as he is next of kin. Then, Jeb reveals to Myrtle in a flashback that he was discharged from the army, he engages in a "war" with Chicken ordering his half-brother to leave the mansion, though Chicken would return to sign an agreement making him the next subsequent owner.
On her way to dinner, Myrtle grows an immediate dislike for her brother-in-law, though Jeb orders Myrtle to retrieve the agreement from Chicken's wallet in his back pocket. However, she is unsuccessful in her attempts until Jeb orders his wife to kill Chicken with a hammer and never to return upstairs without the document. When Myrtle goes downstairs once more, she engages in a conversation until she ultimately reveals she never married Jeb. Chicken refuses to believe it, and orders her to retrieve her marriage license. Myrtle returns upstairs angering Jeb for not retrieving the agreement, and then shows Chicken the marriage license.
After showing the marriage license, Myrtle engages in an extramarital affair with Chicken. Meanwhile, Jeb, who has experiences several flashbacks of his mother and multiple threesome affairs with several prostitutes, is angered that his wife has not returned with the document, and marches downstairs armed with a pistol where he ultimately burns the agreement. Subsequently after burning the agreement, Chicken reveals that he is actually the plantation's heir through his mother, rather than the "mistake" produced from an interracial extramarital affair committed by Jeb's father (who later died in World War II). Learning of the revelation, Jeb collapses to the floor and dies.
Finally, the levee breaks forcing Chicken and Myrtle to ascend to the rooftop to escape the surrounding floodwaters for refuge and sexual fulfillment.
Vincent Canby, writing for The New York Times, reviewed the film as a "slapstick tragicomedy that looks and sounds and plays very much like cruel parody—of Tennessee Williams", though he further remarked that the film fared poorly in comparison to the "earlier, more memorable Williams characters who are easily identifiable even though there have been some changes in sex and color."
- Canby, Vincent (January 15, 1970). "The Screen: 'Last of the Mobile Hot-Shots' Opens". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2015.