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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Two-Disc Special Edition) (2006)

Elizabeth Taylor , Richard Burton , Mike Nichols  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (311 customer reviews)

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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Two-Disc Special Edition) + TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Elizabeth Taylor (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof / Butterfield 8 / Father of the Bride / The Sandpiper) + The Taming of the Shrew
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Product Details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis
  • Directors: Mike Nichols
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (311 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I2JDEY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,020 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Two-Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by directors Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh
  • Commentary by cinematographer Haskell Wexler
  • Vintage biographical profile: Elizabeth Taylor: An Intimate Portrait
  • New featurettes: "A Daring Work of Raw Excellence" and "Too Shocking for Its Time"
  • 1966 Mike Nichols interview
  • Sandy Dennis screen test
  • Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton movie trailer gallery

Editorial Reviews

Edward Albee's ground-breaking play is brought to the big screen by Mike Nichols in his directing debut. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor star as a failed University professor and his acerbic, shrewish wife. Taking place over the course of a social evening with a younger couple, George and Martha spar and verbally abuse each other in language not heard in American films at that time. Amazingly, the film passed the censor board at the time and began the fall of standards that had shackled Hollywood for decades. A brilliant film; one not to be missed. Special Edition bonus features include: Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Korean, Portuguese, Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Commentary by directors Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh, Commentary by cinematographer Haskell Wexler, Vintage biographical profile: Elizabeth Taylor: An Intimate Portrait, New featurettes: "A Daring Work of Raw Excellence" and "Too Shocking for Its Time' 1966 Mike Nichols interview, Sandy Dennis screen test, and Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton movie trailer gallery

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 113 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Edward Albee's vituperative play about marital warfare, an acknowledged classic even during its first run, came to the screen with searing fervor by an unlikely combination of talents at that time - stage director Mike Nichols helming his first film, screenwriter Ernest Lehman coming off the big box office treacle of "The Sound of Music", and two mega-stars who were more famous as notorious tabloid-saturated lovers than as character actors. The highly successful 1966 adaptation of the Broadway hit was considered quite daring because of its frank portrayal of a sadomasochistic marriage and the frequent use of profanity throughout. The groundbreaking film also signaled the end of the Hayes Code, which held a censorship stranglehold over Hollywood productions since 1934. Now in a new 2006 two-disc DVD set, the movie seems marginally tamer now, but the lacerating wit of Albee's fearless dialogue and the powerful performances still make this a great picture albeit not a joyous one.

The simple-sounding story focuses on the aptly named George and Martha, a middle-aged associate history professor and his older, shrewish wife. Staggering home after an alcohol-fueled faculty party, they trade their usual barbs and then are joined by Nick, a young assistant biology professor, and his wife Honey, whom a drunken Martha had invited over for a late-night nightcap. Despite the late hour, Nick readily accepts the invitation since Martha's father is the university president. What ensues is a series of vitriolic cat-and-mouse scenes of tension and black comedy among the four principals. In fact, there is no one else in the movie other than a roadside café owner and a waitress in the background.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virginia Woolf? No Way, I'm Afraid of Martha September 25, 2006
Format:DVD
An absolutely flawless film adaptation of an absolute brilliant play by Edward Albee, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" was a triumph for first time feature director Mike Nichols. "Woolf" has long been one of my favorite films, I'd say it's in the top three of all time along with "The Lion In Winter" and "All About Eve". So, needless to say, I am thrilled that it's finally receiving an updated Special Edition. So many unworthy, mediocre films are getting deluxe makeovers that it is gratifying when something great gets included!

Because "Woolf" is based on a play, it relies heavily on performance and writing. The sets have been expanded a bit, but primarily what you see is concentrated to a couple of hours in a house. This can be jarring in the day of quick cuts and rapid scene change. This film is a lot more claustrophobic than what you might be accustomed to--but this closeness is used to great affect throwing these characters into confrontation.

This film has one of the strongest, most powerful screenplays ever. Primarily, the story is about George and Martha--a dysfunctional married couple in a university town. They spend their days fighting and retreating, sparring constantly, playing games of one-ups-manship. It is an absolutely chilling, grotesque portrait of codependency. One fateful evening a younger couple join them for some "entertainment", little suspecting that they will be drawn into an intense night where they are alternately challenged and used as pawns in George and Martha's struggle. This is not for the squeamish viewer. Even though the film is 30 years old, you will be shocked and surprised about how far George and/or Martha is willing to go for victory. It is an absolute verbal bloodbath--fast, cruel, uncompromising, adult.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is one of the most important plays in the history of American Drama, representing a sort of merging of the psychological drama represented by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller with the existential plays of Samuel Becket and Eugene Ionesco. After a faculty party George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) have invited a young professor, Nick (George Segal) and his wife Honey (Sandy Dennis), back for a few drinks. What happens is ironically described as fun and games, which end up airing everyone's dirty laundry in a compelling death spiral of brutal confrontations.
All four players were nominated for Oscars, with both of the ladies winning in the finest ensemble performance since "Long Day's Journey Into Night." Burton lost to Paul Schofield in "A Man for All Seasons" and Segal to Walter Matthau in "The Fortune Cookie." Haskell Wexler also earned a richly deserved Oscar for Best Black-and-White Cinematography. I think this is clearly Elizabeth Taylor's best film performance (Burton's too). I remember someone asking Katharine Hepburn if she thought any other actress had ever shown a range comparable to herself and she mentioned Taylor. It makes sense. They have both done plays by William Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Albee. Not even Meryl Streep can say that.
The film does have one major problem, which Albee himself has repeatedly pointed out, namely, it was a mistake director Mike Nichols to let the two couples leave the house and go to a roadhouse in the middle of Act II. The play is a one set play, of course, and Albee consider the claustrophobia it produced part of its main effect.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch it.
Extraordinary performances, timely, by two extraordinary actors. Beautiful resolution.
Published 6 days ago by Meg Mathews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quality motion picture
Published 8 days ago by Rose Furtney
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant
Published 14 days ago by Fanchon L Cordell
1.0 out of 5 stars One to miss
I am a fan of classic movies. However, this is a horrible movie about horrible people doing horrible things.
Published 14 days ago by James Jaeger
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing classic from Albee!
Published 15 days ago by TAMMY S KAYLOR
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb drama. Taylor and Burton are the definitive George and Martha
Superb drama. Terrific acting.
Despite various revivals, Burton and Taylor remain the definitive George and Marthat. Intense and thought-provoking.
Published 26 days ago by Pilgrim
1.0 out of 5 stars I got a copy of a movie with a commentary ...
I got a copy of a movie with a commentary on it. Can't even watch movie with this copy. Please resend a copy of just the movie. Very irritated!
Published 28 days ago by Angela Tarrer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great performances. Gritty, and maybe hits too close to home. Darned good movie.
Published 1 month ago by Super Seven
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
my my
Published 1 month ago by Diane Pace
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible acting and interesting study of relationship dynamics; the...
Incredible acting and interesting study of relationship dynamics; the shared stories couples have and what transpires when these stories are exposed and/or threatened.
Published 1 month ago by Kamela M. Proulx
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