Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton Film Collection (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf 2-Disc Special Edition / The Comedians / The Sandpiper / The V.I.P.s) 5 Disc Set
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THE V.I.P.s (1963) - Fog rolls in, grounding air traffic. Over the next fateful night, elite passengers awaiting London-to-U.S. fl ights must face problems instead of fleeing them. Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and more deliver romantic melodrama mixed with wry comedic flourishes. THE SANDPIPER (1965) - Rapturous Big Sur is the backdrop as a minister (Burton) is torn between his yearnings for a beautiful free spirit (Taylor) and his love for his wife (Eva Marie Saint). Directed by Vincente Minnelli from a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo and Michael Wilson. WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (1966) - Taylor and Burton are ideal as malevolent marrieds in first-time film director Mike Nichols' searing film of Edward Albee's groundbreaking play (written for the screen by Ernest Lehman). The movie won a total of five Oscars®* and remains a taboo-toppling landmark. THE COMEDIANS (1967) - Romantic and political passions are set ablaze in Haiti during the brutal rule of Papa Doc Duvalier. Burton and Taylor lead a who's-who cast of stars caught up in the strongman's reign of terror in a story as disturbing and redeeming as mankind's conflicted heart.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
That leaves THE SANDPIPERS, which Pauline Kael called a classic; yes, she meant a classic of bad cinema, but a classic of bad cinema is not the same as lousy cinema, and any film directed by Vincent Minelli, starring Burton, Taylor and Charles Bronson as a sculpter (!) is worth a look. It's not good, but it's not one you'll regret seeing if you think you're curious, with typical glossy Hollywood production values and good Big Sur footage.
So one great, two good (and rewatchable) and one compelling turkey. And I like the slimline cases, I have no room as it is; more box sets, Warner -- a Vincente Minelli set of the many MGM flicks he made with Sinatra, Douglas, Mitchum, etc. would be welcome.
The story of common last-named people set against the backdrop of the tumultous reign of terror under Papa Doc in Haiti is the setting for this relatively long movie. "The Comedians", is anything but comedy. It is the mask everyone wears to conceal their true selves. People have affairs but are not in love. They play parlor games to amuse themselves, but never get to the truth of the matter. Some are frauds, and others cynics.
Richard Burton is quite good as the hotel owner who believes in nothing. Elizabeth Taylor plays a diplomat's wife who is having an off/on affair with Burton. She is the weakest link in the movie. Her German accent is atrocious and her character completely unbelievable. However, Alex Guiness and Peter Ustinov are outstanding, as are Lillian Gish and Paul Ford as pacifistic vegetarians. Also look for early performances by James Earl Jones, and Cicely Tyson (in a bit part).
This movie has been transferred in Widescreen to DVD and is clean. The soundtack drops a bit now and then, but overall, the quality is excellent. It is housed in a "slimline jewel case" which many may assume is a bootleg. But it is an official Warner Brothers release.
This is not a movie to watch leisurely. It requires your complete attentiion in order to understand the characters. The violence of Papa Doc's Tontons Macoute is at times vividly graphic.Read more ›
"The VIPs" was a pleasant surprise as I was completely unfamilar with this Burton/Taylor venture. Supporting cast is excellent with Rod Taylor, Louis Jourdan (as Tayor's lover), and the unmistakably impressive Orson Welles, in a semi-comedic role opposite Elsa Martinelli.
Melodrama to be sure, but done with class, wit, and an engaging storyline that holds one's interest throughout its entire 119 minutes. It is amazing how some actors, like Burton and Taylor can take a relatively bit of fluff from Terrence Rattigan's screenplay, and transform it into something absorbing and grand.
What makes these films work? One would have to argue that the chemistry between Burton and Taylor in so many of their films was unmistakable; certainly Mike Nichol's "Virginia Woolf" is a masterpiece, but these are performers who have a intrinsic quality that is rarely seen in actors today--I think we would call it PRESENCE--players ultimately in command of their material and the roles they play who make acting seem effortless and entirely convincing. Burton is a master of roles. He can play the burnt-out professor in "Virginia Woolf" as well as a conflicted, upstanding minister and school headmaster whose life, contrained as his clerical collar, tempts an extramarital affair with the free-spirited mother (Taylor) of one of his students in "The Sandpiper."
The commentaries and extras on "Virginia Woolf" are both ample and exemplary, while shedding a new critical light on this classic play.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoy the back story on the Haiti political climate on the dayPublished 1 month ago by Stacey M. Robinson
Not a bad movie but the Burton/Taylor romance was overblown. Something wrong with the audi since it had to be turned way up to hear.Published 4 months ago by dcenter, Inc.
Love Elizabeth Taylor moves have seen some but not all of her moviesPublished 10 months ago by Joanna
Very accurate view of the politics at that time and place. Excellent movie!!!Published 11 months ago by Sharon L. Grisham
My main reason for purchasing the set was for The VIPs. I've had a mad crush on Rod Taylor since I was 12. Yes it is a film from the sudsy airline era but it was enjoyable. Read morePublished 13 months ago by diane young
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