Ava's only Golden Globe nominated role; The Night of the Iguana to be shown during the Sixth Annual Ava Gardner Festival

Top Quote Festival Celebrates Ava's Life and Career. This annual event includes heritage tours, screenings of classic Ava Gardner films, and special exhibits. End Quote
  • Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC (1888PressRelease) August 27, 2010 - Each year the Ava Gardner Museum celebrates Ava's life and career by hosting the Ava Gardner Festival.

    This year's festival will kickoff during the Ava Gardner Festival Gala on Friday evening, October 8th and will continue Saturday, October 9th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The 2010 Ava Gardner Festival marks the 10th anniversary of the Ava Gardner Museum.

    During the Festival, the classic Ava Gardner films The Barefoot Contessa and The Night of the Iguana will be screened at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield during the afternoon of Saturday, October 9th. That evening at 7:30 PM, the musical Show Boat will be screened at the Neuse River Amphitheatre, 200 Front St., Smithfield Town Commons. All film screenings are free to the public.

    The Night of the Iguana (1964)

    Based on Tennessee Williams' play of the same name, The Night of the Iguana follows a defrocked clergyman as he attempts to escape his past in Mexico. When American minister Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon (Richard Burton) is expelled from his Virginia church, he travels to Mexico in search of his destiny and sanity. There he becomes a tour guide for a bus load of spinsters and a teenage nymphet named Charlotte Goodall (Sue Lyon), who is being chaperoned by the group's leader, the inflexible Judith Fellowes. Miss Fellowes, who is quite jealous of Charlotte's attentions to Shannon, discovers the young woman in his room and vows to have him fired.

    To thwart her plot, Shannon takes control of the bus from the driver, and speeds the tour group on a wild ride through the Mexican jungle to the crumbling, secluded hotel of an old friend, the recently widowed Maxine Faulk (Ava Gardner). Eventually Shannon becomes enamored with another guest at the hotel, the rather genteel Hanna Jelkes (Deborah Kerr), an itinerant quick sketch artist and her poet grandfather Nonno. As the wise Hanna partially restores Shannon's fractured world, Shannon struggles to get back the rest of his sanity and his self-respect.

    Filmed in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, then an isolated location only accessible by boat and far away from air conditioning, lush accommodations, and room service, Huston expected conflict amongst the stars on the set. In order to diffuse the tension prior to shooting, he made each lead actor a gold encrusted pistol with bullets - one with each actor's name on it. This way, when the actors wanted to kill one another, they would use the designated bullet. This proved to be successful; no problems between the cast arose. The film put Puerta Vallarta on the map and it's now a popular resort destination with thousands of hotel rooms and cruise ships in port daily.

    In her role as Maxine Faulk, Ava Gardner received her first and only Golden Globe nomination and received excellent reviews for her performance as the earthy hotel owner: "Ava Gardner is absolutely splendid" (The New Yorker); "Ava Gardner all but runs away with the picture" (Life); and "Miss Gardner gives the performance of her career" (Hollywood Reporter).

    The Ava Gardner Museum is located in downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street and more information may be found on the museum website, www.avagardner.org or by calling 919-934-5830. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm with admission of $6.00 adults, $5.00 seniors and groups and $4.00 children.

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