Toys in the Attic is a somewhat watered-down version of Lillian Hellman’s play, but enough of the original emotional savagery has been retained to satisfy those who prefer their melodramatic meat raw and chewy. Toys is laid in the Deep South and liberally crammed with such sick-sick cargo as incest, adultery, imbecility, lust and a few other popular folk pleasantries.
Principal tampering scenarist James Poe has done with Hellman’s neatly constructed, momentum-gathering play about a New Orleans household shattered by latent incest and corrosive possessiveness is in altering the ending.
Hellman’s heavyweight drama examines the tragedy that transpires as a result of a spinster sister’s secret lust for her younger brother, whose monetarily-motivated marriage to a simple-minded girl sets in operation the mechanism for his ultimate disaster. The new ending is thoroughly artificial. Otherwise, Poe’s additions and subtractions are sound.
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George Roy Hill has made an error or two along the way, but generally his direction is taut, progressive and fastpaced considering this is a very talky, confined piece. The performances are fine.
1963: Nomination: Best B&W Costume Design