TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Taylor & Burton [4 Discs] [DVD]
- SKU: 25707384
- Release Date: 12/02/2014
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- The Sandpiper:
- The Big Sur
- A statue for The Sandpiper
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?:
- Two Commentaries -
- 1) directors Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh
- 2) cinematographer Haskell Wexler
- The Comedians:
- The Comedians in Africa
- Closed Captioned
The humorous title of this story taken from the novel by Graham Greene gives the viewer the wrong impression. The story concerns the residents of a once-posh hotel in Haiti and the fate of the country's people under the despotic dictator Papa Doc Duvalier. Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) is the philandering wife of a South American ambassador Peter Ustinov. She seeks solace in the arms of hotel-owner Brown (Richard Burton), whose main focus is to keep making improvements on his crumbling building. Alec Guinness plays Jones, the suave charlatan who claims to be a retired military officer to hide his vocation as a shadowy weapons dealer. Brown later gets a sudden twinge of morality and decides to go off to the mountains to help the rebels in their heroic cause. Watch for silent film great Lillian Gish as Mrs. Smith in this plodding drama. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi
Terrence Rattigan, the playwright who brought us the multicharactered, multistoried Separate Tables, again offers us an episodic cross-section of humanity in The V.I.P.'s. When a heavy London fog paralyzes all air traffic, the lives of several people are profoundly affected. As indicated by the title, most of the characters in this portmanteau film are of the social and/or financial elite. Elizabeth Taylor wishes to leave her enormously wealthy husband Richard Burton in favor of playboy Louis Jourdan. Peripatetic European film producer Orson Welles is hoping to escape London with his newest protegee Elsa Martinelli in order to avoid paying his income tax. Australian businessman Rod Taylor, accompanied by his devoted (and adoring) secretary Maggie Smith, is anxious to head to New York to stave off a hostile takeover of his firm. And impoverished aristocrat Margaret Rutherford (who won an Oscar for her performance) would rather not go to Florida to accept a job as a social arbiter, but the wolf must be kept from the door. Before the fog disperses, you can be sure that at least one of the many plotlines will intersect with another. David Frost, in a tiny part as a reporter, was fond of recalling in later years that, while the major stars of The VIPS were introduced in the opening titles with animated limousines, he was consigned a tiny Volkswagen; alas, no such cartoon joke appears in the film, though on occasion the actors-particularly Mr. Welles-behave as though they were cartoons. Mercilessly skewered by the critics, The VIPS was a winner at the box-office, due in great part to the Cleopatra-inspired publicity concerning the top-billed Liz Taylor and Dick Burton. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton -- then Hollywood's most bankable couple -- appeared onscreen together for the third time in this romantic drama shot on beautiful locations along the Big Sur region of the California coastline. Laura Edwards (Elizabeth Taylor) is a free-thinking artist and Bohemian who is raising a her teenage son, Danny (Morgan Mason), conceived out of wedlock, on her own. Laura has issues with conventional teaching methods, and prefers to educate Danny about both intellectual and ethical matters on her own. However, Danny has become something of a problem, and child welfare authorities demand that Danny either be sent to school or become a ward of the state. Rather than send Danny to public school, Laura arranges for him to attend a private academy run by Dr. Edward Hewitt (Richard Burton), an Episcopalian minister. Edward is at first shocked by Laura's embrace of free love and rejection of conventional moral codes, but as he gets to know her better, he finds himself increasingly attracted to her, despite the fact he has a wife, Claire (Eva Marie Saint), and two children. Before long, Edward's desire overpowers his scruples and he begins an affair with Laura. Wracked with guilt over his infidelity, Edward confesses his indiscretion to Claire, which proves to have severe and unexpected consequences. While saddled with poor reviews upon its initial release, The Sandpiper did win an Academy Award for Johnny Mandel's theme song, "The Shadow of Your Smile." ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
"You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games." Thus read the ad copy for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which in 1966 went farther than any previous big-studio film in its use of profanity and sexual implication. George (Richard Burton) is an alcoholic college professor; Martha (Oscar-winner Elizabeth Taylor) is his virago of a wife. George and Martha know just how to push each other's buttons, with George having a special advantage: he need only mention the couple's son to send Martha into orbit. This evening, the couple's guests are Nick (George Segal), a junior professor, and Honey (Sandy Dennis), Nick's child-like wife. After an evening of sadistic (and sometimes perversely hilarious) "fun and games," the truth about George and Martha's son comes to light. First staged on Broadway in 1962 with Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill, Edward Albee's play was adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman, who managed to retain virtually all of Albee's scatological epithets (this was the first American film to feature the expletive "goddamn"). Lehman opened up the play by staging one of George's speeches in the backyard, and by relocating the film's second act to a roadside inn (he also added four lines--"all bad," according to Albee). Thanks to the box-office clout of stars Taylor and Burton, not to mention the titilation factor of hearing all those naughty words on the big screen, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf was a hit, and it won 5 Oscars, including awards for Taylor and Dennis, though it lost Best Picture to A Man for All Seasons. First-time director Mike Nichols lost the Oscar, but this movie gave him a perfect transition from his stage work and established him as a hot young Hollywood director, leading to his acclaimed (and Oscar-winning) work on his next movie, The Graduate. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Richard Burton - Brown
- Elizabeth Taylor - Martha Pineda
- Alec Guinness - Maj. Jones
- Peter Ustinov - Ambassador Pineda
- Paul Ford - Mr. Smith