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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


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Product Details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis, Agnes Flanagan
  • Directors: Mike Nichols
  • Writers: Ernest Lehman, Edward Albee
  • Producers: Ernest Lehman
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 1, 1997
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (342 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0790732254
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,064 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

After his successful direction of the Broadway hits Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple, Mike Nichols made his filmmaking debut with this outstanding and still-powerful screen adaptation (by Ernest Lehman) of Edward Albee's taboo-shattering play. In their fourth film together (and by far their finest), Richard Burton and Oscar winner Elizabeth Taylor play a New England couple whose marriage hangs by a thin thread of self-deception, vicious verbal jousting, and embittered mutual need. George Segal and Sandy Dennis (who also won an Oscar) play the younger, unsuspecting couple who awkwardly witness the devastating rivalry of their hosts. Handling adult themes with intelligence and forceful dramatic impact, this was the film that finally shattered Hollywood's self-censoring Production Code with commercially successful results. The DVD features an insightful commentary track by Haskell Wexler, whose black-and-white cinematography deservedly won an Academy Award. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis all give fantastic performances.
Vlad
I've never seen a film that captures this psychological chemistry as powerfully as Nichols's adaptation, and the Burton-Taylor performances are truly remarkable.
Christopher Crawford
Teenagers (like myself) should see this kind of movie that really makes you think about life and just overall observe the movie and be touched.
Alison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 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 By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 3, 2002
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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