Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Burton & Taylor - they are back ...

I am pleased I came across this photo of The Burtons with director Joseph Losey and critic Dilys Powell at that Cinema City Exhibition back in 1970, held at The Roundhouse in London, which was organised by The Sunday Times, and which I was at, as I had not seen a photo from it before.

The Burtons were there to protest about the mutilation of their film SECRET CEREMONY which had been a commercial flop at the time (their box office luck was running out then ...) and the film had been sold direct to tv and re-edited. [Back then, a film could not be shown on tv (and we only had 3 channels then) for at least 5 years!]. So this was not welcome by them - as Taylor said "Its our reputation up there".  
She looked very vivid in that multi-pattern long dress I remember, and of course she flashed those diamonds.! 
Burton was rather hang-dog and mentioned being accused of having sold out, whereas Losey kept pretty quiet. The Sunday Times critic, the venerable critic Dilys Powell, always appreciated Taylor as a great actress, particularly in Tennessee Williams dramas. It made for an interesting evening. My programme (right) shows they appeared between screenings of WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? and BOOM!

Now we have a new telefilm from the BBC on Taylor and Burton during their later years, in that 1983 tour of PRIVATE LIVES, which though a disaster was a sell-out as people wanted to see them on stage, even if they were totally unsuitable for the Coward play, being too old then for a start (Burton died the following year 1984). Elizabeth also scored in that production of THE LITTLE FOXES, even if her ability to project was being questioned by some. 
After the success of the Liberace telefilm, it will be interesting to see how this ones does.  Helena Bonham-Carter actually looks quite the best of the Taylor look-alikes, but I don't see anything of Burton in Dominic West. Maybe more, after we get to see it next week. I still have 2 of her choice '70s extravaganzas to re-watch sometime soon too, 1971's ZEE & CO (x, y & zee) and '73's daft NIGHT WATCH.  
CLEOPATRA is back in cinemas too for a 50th anniversary re-release, and is a treat on the big screen, real spectacle plus all that enjoyable talk, courtesty of Mankiewicz.
In the BBC film Helena Bonham-Carter is indeed astonishing as Taylor - of course the lilac and purple colours help. Taylor here is a boozy, pill-addled, manipulative mess - forever pouring drinks, and arriving late for rehearsals, with her pets, and not learning her lines. She sees the venture as a way of getting Burton (who is about to re-marry) back into her orbit, so is devastated when her ruse fails. This BBC4 BURTON AND TAYLOR film is fascinating on many levels, one to catch if and when you can. 

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