The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond ()

directed by Jodie Markell
featuring Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Evans, Ann-Margret, Will Patton, Ellen Burstyn

Show Synopsis

A rebellious socialite defies social conventions for a once-in-a-lifetime shot at true love, only to see her hopes for the future shattered after a priceless diamond vanishes into thin air in this romantic drama adapted from a long-lost Tennessee Williams screenplay. Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the debutant daughter of a wealthy Memphis plantation owner. She harbors a great distain for the narrow-minded elite who seem to worship the ground her father walks on, and takes great delight in shocking and insulting ...


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Oct 2, 2018

A Rare Tennessee Williams Screenplay

After reading John Lahr's biography, "Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh" (2014), I became so interested in Williams that I read or reread many of his works and watched several of the movies his writings inspired. At the time I read Lahr and explored Williams, I was unaware of Williams' screenplay, "Loss of a Teardrop Diamond" and of the film that resulted in 2009. Lahr does not mention the work in his book. Williams wrote "Loss of a Teardrop Diamond" in 1957, and the script was either forgotten or deemed not worth pursuing. At about the same time, Williams wrote another original screenplay, "Baby Doll" which became a film infamous in its day under the direction of Elia Kazan.

It is fortunate that Williams' screenplay has been preserved and filmed. Those who love or are interested in Williams' writing will have this movie to see which otherwise would have been lost. It is unlikely that this screenplay will be filmed again in the foreseeable future, and this movie is a more than good --- in fact it is a fine rendition that does the script credit. The film was independently produced and the product of several years' effort. A young Jodie Markell directed the movie with Bryce Dallas Howard in the leading role of the young socialite, Fisher Willow, and Chris Evans playing the role of her escort, Jimmy Dobyne V, the grandson of a former state governor whose family has fallen on hard times. The film received mostly negative reviews when it was released in 2009 and did not play in many theaters. I think it will have staying power.

The movie is set in the Mississippi Delta in 1923 and was filmed entirely in Louisiana. The period settings are beautiful and convincing and include poor hardscrabble fields, lush mansions, and jazz clubs. The accompanying film score of jazz, pop, ragtime, and a bit of classical piano adds to the story and the setting. Both the leads could have brought more passion to their roles, but their characters and their stories come through. Supporting actress Ellyn Burnstein offers a highly dramatic, brief performance is an opium-addicted, dying elderly woman.

In the story, Fisher Willow is a highly wealthy, educated, independent young woman who is shunned by her society because of the reckless actions of her father and because of her own high spirits. She hires young Jimmy to be her escort at social events. Jimmy's father is an alcoholic and his mother is institutionalized. Fisher wants Jimmy to be more than her escort to parties, but he resists her advances. At a fashionable Halloween party, Fisher loses an expensive diamond earring. The loss of the teardrop diamond becomes the occasion for Fisher and Jimmy to sort out what will be the nature of their relationship. The film shows Williams' treatment of the South with its decadence, sexual undertones, and repressions. There are scenes of illicit sexuality, drug use, and extensive alcohol use. The movie captures a feeling of place and sadness and of the search for love and meaning characteristic of Williams' writing. The pacing is a little slow in places, but the script is Williams' and the movie is effective.

This is a small screenplay and film and would never be confused with a major work of Williams. Small slight things can still be beautiful as for example a Scarlatti sonata, a Schubert song, or a teardrop diamond earring. This is a lovely film in its story and atmosphere.. It is delicate and intimate and repays close attention. As with so much of Williams, the characters are frail underneath their exteriors. This is a fragile work, but it is successfully done, and moving.

Robin Friedman

Judith H

May 31, 2014

Loss od a Teardrop diamond

Stupid , insipid. Southern people stereotyped, made to look stylized---no character development--story line unrealistic, made up---unreal-----

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