Who would have been better in the role of Catharine?
I think there are lots of actresses who could have fulfilled Tennessee Williams' conception of Catharine's character.
2. Jeanne Moreau (she may not have been able to handle some of the higher pitched mania, and maybe yes, but for sullen feminine boredom with the power to attract, Moreau has massive reserves.)
3. Ellen Burstyn (okay, she was practically unheard of in 1959), but she was 27, the same age as Taylor and, if you've ever seen "Tropic of Cancer", she has the face and the body and the powerful feminine sexual wiles that could have been just right for this part. She actually might have been a little too modern, which could have upset the rest of the moody production. It would have been a much different film. I think she could have been excellent, as she IS an excellent actress.
4. Lee Remick - she's not Tennessee Williams heavyweight to be sure, but she was extremely lovely and I could see her playing bait. She has just the hint of naughtiness. Plus, she did her line readings better than Liz.
5. Dahlia Lavi - I've only seen M. Lavi in one film, so I can't speak for her acting talent, but her beauty and her temperament seem perfect for the role.
6. Okay, maybe a dark horse contender, but Gena Rowlands might really have done sonething interesting. I know she's not "fine-boned" or anything like that, and despite her performance in "Woman Under the Influence", there was something sane about her. But she was very pretty and sexual and could convey vulnerability and a delicate nature extraordinarily well, and she could have felt right at home in the millieu, and she was certainly the right age. Plus, she can act.