Monday, February 27, 2006

White Diamonds. Violet Eyes.

A 74th birthday wish to one of the great movie stars of all time, Elizabeth Taylor. Today's starlets can kiss her white diamonds. Before Angelina Jolie, JLo, and the rest of the silver screen/tabloid stars, La Liz was creating the template for all impossibly beautiful, slightly wild, man-loving, charitably minded, marriage happy, and wealth flaunting superstars to come.



Best performance: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf(1966).
Why I fell for her: A Place in the Sun(1951). "tell mama everything..."
Underappreciated great work: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof(1958) and Giant(1956).
Liz Sites: Reel Classics Liz Page * Classic Movies Tribute * Immortality * Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation* Acting Divas * Husbands of...*
Another reason to love La Liz: Montgomery Clift, the best friend.
Best Liz husband: Richard Burton (twice over).
Best Liz Scandal: Eddie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds.
Recent moment to savor: The December 2000 Golden Globe Awards "y'all. y'all. y'all...Gladiator!"
Funny point-of-comparison: Joanne Woodward who has but 1 marriage [to Paul Newman, Liz's Cat co-star-- the marriage is still going strong] to Liz's 8 is also celebrating a birthday today. She's 76.

The best Liz quote: (that sums it all up)
"I've been through it all, baby. I'm Mother Courage."

15 comments:

david m said...

err make that 34!! Mixed her up with Woodward being 76 today.

david m said...

Happy Birthday Elizabeth and Joanne.

Amazing that when Taylor made Virginia Woolf she was only 36!

Anonymous said...

when I think of Taylor.. I picture her in the slip scene in "Cat..." and the bathing suit scene in "Suddenly Last Summer" ..

she was only as good an actress as the excellence of her director...
the same can be said of Natalie Wood.

Vertigo's Psycho said...

I think La Liz was always a "pro" regardless of her director- look at her early work in "Jane Eyre" and, of course, "National Velvet" (a film containing possibly her best performance). Onscreen, she was A-one as an actress from the first time she heard "Action!"

Never knew Joanne Woodward shared a birthday with another film immortal- Happy Birthday to you both!

Anonymous said...

you haven't seen most of her adult movies, then ..

dannyboy said...

What? No mention of "Boom!"?

Vertigo's Psycho said...

Ah yes, I've seen many of Liz's "grown-up" performances. However, I don't play into the bias that a child can't give a performance equal to one by an adult- I believe Ms. Taylor's work in "Velvet" is on par with her 'showier' nominated roles in "Cat," "Summer," or "Woolf". For 'adult' Elizabeth performances, I'd place her extremely senstive, compelling work in "A Place in the Sun" at the top of my list.

Anonymous said...

Try watching The Sandpiper, Cleopatra, Boom, VIP's, NightWatch, I could go on and on... they are laughable performances... All the movies you mention have been directed by top notch directors .. therefore a good performance by Liz.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I wish they'd release some of these movies on DVD. I've only seen A Place in the Sun (and loved it) of those mentioned.I have Giant sitting there all pretty in my James Dean box, but it's over three hours and that takes committment!

I am desperate to see Virginia Woolf but Australian distributers are evil evil creatures.

Anonymous said...

To Kamikaze Camel:

Liz was excellent in Giant... put in the time to se it. It is a little dated now, but her performance is quite good. A PLace In the Sun was a great movie all the way...

Vertigo's Psycho said...

But wait . . . Joseph Mankiewicz directed "Cleopatra," Vincent Minnelli helmed "The Sandpiper," and Anthony Asquith was responsible for "The V.I.P.s", pretty much axing the argument that good director's were in the main responsible for Ms. Taylor's finest screen accomplishments- good directors also were in charge of some of the lesser films Liz appeared in.

Film, to be sure, is a collaborative medium, but one does not become a legend of the stature of an Elizabeth Taylor without having a wealth of talent as well as "star quality"; Liz's skills as an actress should be recognized in her greatest perofrmances, AT LEAST as much as the work of her directors, and she did win an Oscar for "Butterfield 8," wherein she was good in a lesser movie. Although many, including Ms. Taylor herself, attribute her win to the fact she almost died during the voting process, few remember she'd already achieved a nomination for Best Actress before her illness came into play. The material she was working with in "8" was substandard, yet Liz still came through with a solid performance without a whole lot of help from ANYONE.

Like all stars who appear in dozens of films over their careers, of course Liz was bound to show up in some stinkers, but she usually was in there pitching, trying to do something with her role.

Anonymous said...

last comment on this subject... the movies with the director's you mention had the directors when they were practically in their graves... read reviews of all those movies and their critiques of Taylors' performances!!!! Also rewatch them...

Vertigo's Psycho said...

Mankiewicz and Minnelli both died over two decades after working with Liz on the films mentioned, and both were still considered top directors at the time the films were made (I'm throughly versed in film history, and know 20th Century Fox would not have put a novice in charge of what turned out to be the most expensive film ever made up to that time). I've seen reviews of the films, and "The Sandpiper" was the only one of the three wherein pans ruled the day from just about every critic (and one can hardly blame Liz soley for this, just watch the film- EVERYONE seemed to play a hand in the film's lack of quality, but it was still a huge hit in 1965 and won an Oscar for Best Song). "Cleopatra" and "The VIPS" fared better with critics, at least garnering mixed reviews and several Oscars nominations and wins.

I still stand by my statement that "Butterfield 8" illustrates what a pro Liz could be onscreen with much help. Directors were certainly not wholy responsible for each of the outstanding performances Liz gave throughout her career- Elizabeth Taylor had the fortune to work with top talent, because SHE was a top talent herself.

Vertigo's Psycho said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vertigo's Psycho said...

Make that ". . .what a pro Liz could be onscreen withOUT much help."