Tennessee Williams’ only comedy is this neglected gem of a movie about two couples at Christmas. It has never been available on DVD so your only chance to see it is tonight on Turner Classic Movies.
It stars a very young Jane Fonda as a nurse who impulsively marries her favorite patient, a Korean War veteran (Jim Hutton) who is still struggling with what today we might call post-traumatic stress. He tries to cover up his nervousness with a lot of bluster and instead of a romantic honeymoon she finds herself driving with him in a hearse to visit his best Army buddy (Tony Franciosa), who is having his own marital problems, in large part due to his interfering father-in-law, who is also his boss. Three of the 1960’s finest character actors fill out the cast, including John McGiver and, in a rare appearance together, Jack and Mabel Albertson (real-life brother and sister).
It is a bittersweet comedy about endearing characters and it is nice to see some Tennessee Williams characters show some generosity, sweetness, and hope. The reconciliation of the two couples is genuinely touching and it is a wonderful holiday treat for those looking for something a little different.