Having recently heard about this movie for the first time, I wondered why it seems so much like a secret. The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is made from a Tennessee Williams screenplay that Elia Kazan never produced. It would almost be like finding a long dormant Mozart piece. Well, that’s not a perfect analogy, since a screenplay merely provides the structure. But then again, how did a director whose only directing credit is a short 1998 film called Why I Live at the P.O. come into possession of it? Apparently, it was found amongst the author’s papers in 1983 and was acquired by a film company called Paladin. That’s all that a quick Google search will yield.
Coming Soon has the exclusive trailer for the film, which stars Bryce Dallas Howard in 1920s Memphis as Fisher Willow, a woman of high class who is frustrated by the corruption around her. She takes the poor Jimmy Dobyne (played by Chris Evans) to a party, but having lost an expensive pair of diamond earrings that were lent to her, she accuses Jimmy of stealing them. Knowing Tennessee Williams, the diamond earrings are probably a metaphor for something. The anachronistic poster is very elegant; it lends the film a sense that the entire production has been displaced from its time. In that sense, it reminds me of a little of Chinatown – a film that has fidelity to an older time and place but in a modern cinema context.
As Coming Soon notes, this is the first new movie based on a Williams story in over forty years. Howard will join the ranks of Vivian Leigh, Katherine Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor to play leading roles in a Williams penned film. Tennessee Williams was nominated twice for an Academy Award with A Streetcar Named Desire and Baby Doll (both with Kazan). I don’t know how good this film will be, but the entire thing feels a little ominous. However, if there is one film that should succeed, then it is a Tennessee Williams film.