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Burton and Taylor (2014)

Helena Bonham Carter , Dominic West , Richard Laxton  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Helena Bonham Carter, Dominic West, Greg Hicks, Lenora Crichlow, Lucille Sharp
  • Directors: Richard Laxton
  • Writers: William Ivory
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 2014
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DC5JVE6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,443 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech, The Lone Ranger) and Golden Globe nominee Dominic West (300, The Wire) star as Hollywood’s most famous volatile on-again-off-again lovers in this new 90-minute drama from BBC AMERICA. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor had one of the most fascinating, glamorous and tempestuous relationships of the 20th century – the two most famous movie stars of their day who played out every high and low of their love affairs, multiple marriages and divorces right in the public eye. Burton and Taylor follows their private and public relationship played out against their ill-fated appearance in a 1983 revival of Noel Coward‘s stage play, Private Lives. Tempestuous, funny, and dripping with diamonds – this is the last battle of the Burtons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They couldn't be together but they couldn't be apart October 17, 2013
The DVD of this BBC film for television is yet to be released in the US so the first introduction to what is actually a very fine film was presented to the American audience in piece meal fashion on the BBC network: 7 minutes of story then 4 minutes of commercials then 7 more minutes of story, etc - for 2 hours. It grows wearisome to see two character studies so well sculpted cut up into a puzzle by commercialism's greed. The uninterrupted DVD should correct that flaw and will likely be a stunning experience. Richard Laxton directs a screenplay by William Ivory (no, not THAT Ivory family...), but the kudos for the success of this film go to Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West who manage to reincarnate Li and Dick with consummate skill.

Elizabeth Taylor (Helena Bonham Carter) invites her ex-husband - twice married, twice divorced in one of the last century's most tempestuous and media focused couplings - Richard Burton (Dominic West) to her fiftieth birthday party where, as a recovering alcoholic, he refuses to get drunk with her. She obviously still retains her obsession and passion for him and suggests that they star in a stage revival of Noël Coward's play Private Lives that Liz is to produce. The agreement and announcement causes gossip with the press who speculate a possible romantic reconciliation. With a new girlfriend and the prospect of playing King Lear, Burton is not happy with the project, especially with Taylor's pill-popping and her lack of stage experience, which causes problems at rehearsals: Taylor has not even read the play before day 1 of the rehearsals. The play opens to a critical trashing but is extremely popular with audiences because they want to see Liz Taylor and, when she is ill, numbers dwindle and the show is put on hold.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another stunning performance from Helena March 3, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Helena, so when I heard about this, I was super excited. I watched it when it first aired on bbc, and u fell in love with this couple. Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter put on an amazing and very convincing performance of one of Hollywood's most talked about couples. If you want to see a movie about Burton and Taylor, this is for you! And if you're a fan of Helena, this is also for you! And if you're looking for a good movie to watch, this is also for you! ;P
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and Insightful February 5, 2014
BURTON AND TAYLOR surprised me.

Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting this TV movie from BBC Home Entertainment to be very good, since few films about show business figures are, but this one was quite moving and insightful.

The film is set in the 1980s, after legendary stars Elizabeth Taylor (Helena Bonham Carter) and Richard Burton (Dominic West) have divorced each other for the second time. Both are alcoholics, though Burton is sincerely attempting to stay “on the wagon”.

Elizabeth decides to co-produce a limited run (10 weeks) production of Noel Coward’s classic comedy, PRIVATE LIVES, on Broadway to co-star her and Richard. He agrees, in part, because the run will result in a terrific payday and, since he continues to live like “royalty,” he can probably use the money. Also, though both he and Elizabeth are currently romantically involved with others, they still have a strong, albeit unhealthy, attraction toward each other.

Working together in the theatre is a near disaster for the duo. Richard, the consummate professional, is appalled by his former wife’s lack of professionalism. Indeed, she had never even read PRIVATE LIVES prior to the first rehearsal. Sparks do fly, as Elizabeth tries to woo Richard back into her private life.

Though they really look nothing like the icons they are portraying both actors brilliantly capture the essence of the two stars, delivering impeccable performances. The screenplay by William Ivory and Richard Laxton’s direction are first-rate.

The DVD from BBC Home Entertainment contains two “behind the scenes” featurettes.

© Michael B. Druxman
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The only thing that would stand between most good actors taking on these roles would be enough self knowledge to know they lacked the necessary skills or the risk of being found guilty of killing another good actor who tried for the role.

I have found Carter mesmerizing from when I first saw her in A Room with a View. There she was a Pre-Raphaelite ideal who was entrancing and an entirely believable actress who would accept the artistic need to reveal herself full frontal in one of the most despairing and tragic embraces in film.

Later I saw her play a woman crippled by an illness but capturing a sense of pain that far surpassed the physical. Much later still, she took on a wickedly funny role in Fight Club. As a New York low life she surpassed Hoffman in Cowboy as easily as she gave a nip or more at the heels to Daniel Day-Lewis for My Left Foot.

She is an actress without flaw and a woman only lacking in not knowing most men who would happily drink her bath water.

Dominic West is another of those English actors who make our home grown actors' jaws drop. He buries himself in a role so deeply that he generally escapes notice as an actor but registers as a character and because no part before this gave him a decent star turn in a sense he has gone unnoticed.

While kept busy he has been underused which might be worse than under appreciated, although neither is merited.

In B&T what's odd is West finally got a part that might gain notice after years of trying and Carter emerged from what seems years of hiding.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars NOBODY could do Liz but Liz. Burton was a ...
NOBODY could do Liz but Liz. Burton was a special character also....a one of a kind. I bought it
but will not watch it again.
Published 15 days ago by tudorgirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This movie was AWESOME! Much better acting than the lindsey lohan one!
Published 2 months ago by Rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very sweet and lovely movie with the right actors.
Published 2 months ago by leonard grabner
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good shipping and very good standard DVD quality, but that's what you would expect from the BBC
Published 2 months ago by Steve Kur
2.0 out of 5 stars Burton and Taylor, not so great.
I came to this telemovie with some high expectations. I had read some very positive reviews and it seemed like it was a good cast. Read more
Published 2 months ago by nick
3.0 out of 5 stars Routine Trot Through the (Private) Lives of Two Legendary...
In 1983 Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor appeared together on stage for the first and only time in Noel Coward's comedy PRIVATE LIVES. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dr. Laurence Raw
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Move
I was pleased with the condition I received the DVD, and it was a litte more inciteful to the Burton Taylor thing..
Published 6 months ago by Thomas A Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I saw Burton and Taylor in Private Lives -- so I thought it would
be interesting to see the behind the scene drama during this period.
Published 6 months ago by SuttonPlace
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent purchase.

The material arrived on time and was very pleased. He does not yet exist in Brazil and English subtitles were very helpful. Grateful.
Published 7 months ago by Adriano Ferreira da Silva
2.0 out of 5 stars Who Cares?
This could've been been much better. Maybe someday someone WILL do it better! And maybe I'm just tired of them.
Published 7 months ago by Diane K. Wilson
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