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Ash Wednesday [VHS]

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Henry Fonda, Helmut Berger, Keith Baxter, Maurice Teynac
  • Directors: Larry Peerce
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Paramount
  • VHS Release Date: January 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302023637
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,648 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Barbara gets secret plastic surgery in Switzerland in an attempt to save her marriage to Mark, but he doesn't seem interested in meeting her. She checks in to a ski resort to wait for Mark, and begins getting attention from young men. Her daughter tries to warn her that even though she has had the surgery it might be too late for her marriage, but she clings to the hope that Mark will come back once he sees her new look. Meanwhile, she must decide whether or not have an affair with a young man she's met.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
For anyone who admires glamorous films that have style and class and a bit of an old fashioned feel about them then "Ash Wednesday" is a viewing experience to cherish. It is without a doubt my favourite of Elizabeth Taylor's later day performances and while not a huge blockbuster upon its release in 1973 it certainly contains a great performance by this legendary actress and a rare opportunity to admire her breathtaking beauty in magnificent settings.
"Ash Wednesday" tells the rather sad story of Barbara Sawyer (Elizabeth Taylor) a wealthy woman from Detroit who is entering that difficult period of her life when her visual charms are fading and her equally ageing husband (Henry Fonda)is experiencing his own late midlife crisis and looking elsewhere to help make him feel young again. Driven by a desire to please her husband and save her marriage she travels to Italy and undergoes extensive plastic surgery in the vain hope that all their marital problems will evaporate. What she realises is that time has moved on and both of them have changed over time and now have different needs and directions to go off in. "Ash Wednesday" contains a beautifully restrained performance from Elizabeth. She is in turn afraid of the consequences of the surgery, joyful at the superb results, apprehensive about her husband's feelings towards her and developing a growing confidence in her ability to once again be an interesting and attractive woman in her own right. Often accused of allowing herself to become locked into variations of her Oscar winning performance as Martha in "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf" here Elizabeth takes on a whole different type of character and one which suits her perfectly.
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Format: VHS Tape
Gay men have treasured this unabashed tribute to the once phenomenal beauty of la Liz since "Ash Wednesday" came out in l973. Some day, the rest of the world will appreciate this movie as Liz's last glamour movie and a chance at last to act with somebody besides that hambone scene-eater Richard Burton who she demanded co-star with her in one disaster after another. Filmed on location in Italy's famed Cortina ski resort, you've never seen the 41-year-old Taylor look as spell-binding as she does here. An Oscar should have gone to her personal make-up artist, Albert De Rossi, for creating her stunning make-up; to Alexandre of Paris for her classic hair-styles; to Edith Head for whipping up the fabulous furs, velvet gowns, robes worn by the star; and especially to French couturier,Valentino for the knock-out white turban and ermine lined ensemble worn by Liz to the resort's mardi gras ball. Producer Dominic Dunne wrote in his memoirs that more drama occurred behind the camera than on. Liz was breaking up with Burton. Dunne says she was drinking heavily, over-dosed, relentlessly late, was rushed to the hospital for a mysterious condition, had operatic confrontations with her promiscuous spouse and Burton accused her of having an affair with her hunky on-screen lover, Helmet Berger, which caused everyone to laugh. Berger was the lover of Italian director Luscino Visconti. Incredibly, none of this tumult appears on film. Cameraman Ennio Guaninieri bathed Taylor in beautiful light and shadows. Before Taylor resumed making her string of disasters where she shrieked like a harridan, looked hideous in funhouse clothes and huge hair of the 70s, we can all watch Ash Wednesday and drool over this dark little fantasy about a woman who has her entire body lifted--just to impress her cold-fish of a husband, played with zero flash and fire by Henry Fonda. Couldn't Liz have gotten the ravishing Rod Taylor, probably the most magnificent looking male star eye candy of the 70s?
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Elizabeth Taylor starred in Ash Wednesday a grand soap opera which was done in the Ross Hunter style, as he did for Lana Turner. Luckily I got to see this in the theatre. Elizabeth was at her loveliest. Fans of Elizabeth, and lovers of splashy soap opera will like this the most.
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By A Customer on June 28, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This is a hypnotic experience, watching Taylor make her last "glamorous" movie and she's never been more mesmerizing. Edith Head created most of Taylor's knockout wardrobe: swanky furs, velvet evening gowns, Alexandre of Paris created her hairstyles. It's like viewing a glossy movie from MGM of the 30s and Taylor gives a heart-breaking performance of a woman desperate to regain her husband's interest again. This is where the movie does suffer a serious flaw: Henry Fonda is her glum, cold, indifferent husband. He sure ain't the kind of guy I'd knock myself out for, by having a full body lift (shown in rather grisly detail for a few minute at the beginning) I love everything about this glorious masterpiece: the musical score, the glittering backdrops of Italy's Cortina playgrounds. And as I mentioned at the beginning, Taylor would never look so fantastic as she does here.
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Format: VHS Tape
While this film may not rival any of Elizabeth Taylor's classic films from the 1950s or '60s, it never tried to be anything other than a showcase for her magnificent beauty, which ironically is the film's main fault. My only complaint with this film is that it is responsible for my life-long infatuation with Elizabeth Taylor. I unequivocally fell in love with La Divinity Liz at a tender age, seeing her not in National Velvet or A Place in the Sun, Cleopatra or even Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Lord help the boy who falls in love with Martha--I pity poor George), but in Ash Wednesday, a film whose title should perhaps be Smashed Wednesday, judging from the film's producer Dominick Dunne's own admission of the drug and alcohol consumption of the film's participants.
While the film was not a "megahit" at the box office and was not well-regarded critically (it also earned little praise from feminists), Ash Wednesday is a stunning showcase for Elizabeth Taylor's exquisite, almost surreal beauty. I saw this film for the first time on television in the 70s, several years after its theatrical release, and fell instantly in love with this beautifully wicked screen goddess, ET. Essentially, this film is a a very strong testament to Elizabeth Taylor's enduring beauty, well preserved and documented in this magnum opus pop culture commentary on plastic surgery.
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