14A, 131 minutes
Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis
Critic Geoff Pevere reminisces about the on- and off-screen career of Elizabeth Taylor and introduces this adaptation of Edward Albee’s play, in which the screen beauty dared take the role of Martha, the inebriated, frowsy wife of an academic, George, played by real husband Burton. It was nominated for 13 Oscars, the only film ever to receive a nod from the Academy in every eligible category. Taylor took home best actress, and Dennis, best supporting actress. This production, influenced by Europe’s New Wave Cinema, explores the ritualistic interaction of George and Martha, as they vent frustration and anger, drawing in late night visitors Nick (Segal) and Honey (Dennis). Illusions are punctured, lies revealed, and vulnerabilities laid bare. The experience is cathartic, for both on-screen characters and theatre audiences. Part of the great appeal of Hollywood’s iconic stars lies in their vulnerability, and in this film, Taylor risked much, abandoning her glamorous image in pursuit of her art. One also speculates what this film did for Burton and Taylor’s tempestuous relationship.
We’ll be screening a 35mm print. Regular pricing applies.