Mississippi Matinee an Exhibition of the State and the Silver Screen
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Introduction: Tennessee Williams(1)
Although a native Mississippian, Thomas Lanier Williams, nicknamed "Tennessee," moved from the state at a young age when his father got a better job in St. Louis. Williams' relationship with the film industry began early in life. In 1925, a young Tom won ten dollars from Loew's St. Louis State Theater for a review of the silent film Stella Dallas. This association with the screen would last throughout his life - he served as an usher in Manhattan's Strand Theater, worked as a screenwriter for M-G-M in the 1940s, and of course, created the original theatrical material later adapted to the screen.
Williams based the screenplay for Baby Doll (1956) on two of his one-act plays, Twenty-Seven Wagons Full of Cotton and The Unsatisfactory Supper (also called The Long Stay Cut Short). In 1955, famed director Elia Kazan, who had successfully worked with Williams on such projects as A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), asked him to combine the two and add dialogue creating a unified story. Warner Brothers paid for the project, although Newtown Productions, Kazan's own production company, eventually distributed the movie. The title of the screenplay evolved from The Whip Hand to Mississippi Woman and finally to Baby Doll.   [go to page 2 >>]

Online exhibition © copyright 2006
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University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677
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