From the play by Tennessee Williams
Defrocked-preacher-turned-alcoholic-tour-guide Richard Burton is working in a small town in Puerto Vallarta. A bus with a load of church ladies breaks down and he recommends they stay at the hotel run by Ava Gardner. And everyone is chasing everyone else, demons are unleashed, and the titular iguana is pursued and caught by two cabana boys to be fattened up for sacrifice…or rather, dinner.
Our New Year’s Day Videofest theme was John Huston, and this was one of the first movies. This is a rather heavy handed and slow moving version of the play; the only time I’ve seen that, it was awesome, well written and acted; this movie feels like someone said, Whoa! gotta tone down the interesting stuff and make it slow and sultry!.
Burton is phoning in his performance as the disillusioned preacher circling the drain, consumed by lust and his need for alcohol. He (of course) was thrown out of his church for seducing one of the church ladies, and now has his eye on a young thing who is part of the tour…at the same time that the tour leader (hottie Deborah Kerr) also has her eye on the same girl, and Ava Gardner has her eye on him. Much shouting, many accusations, tears and recriminations follow.
If you like overblown emotional meltdowns, this is a good example, but otherwise not so great.