Essential Elizabeth: an appreciation
- March 23, 2011 3:37 PM |
- By Susan Noakes
It's time to get thee to a video store!
When a Hollywood great like Elizabeth Taylor dies, it's high time to watch some of her finest work, and remember that once upon a time in Hollywood, stars became famous for being really, really good at something. Taylor was larger than life for a million reasons, but first of all - she had serious acting chops.
If you've never seen Elizabeth Taylor rock a silver screen - or if you have - here are a few titles to look out for. Prepare to be thrilled.
Taylor starred in this sprawling epic of a film in 1956 with dashing leading man Rock Hudson, and the two became fast friends. It wasn't until much later that Rock admitted to being gay, and eventually died of AIDS complications in 1985. She became a tireless AIDS activist - indeed her son asked that donations be made to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in lieu of flowers.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
This 1958 Tennessee Williams adaptation won Taylor an Oscar nomination... and a place in my heart. I have a vivid memory of watching this cracker of a movie while curled up with my mother... thrilled to be deemed mature enough to handle the material. Taylor and Paul Newman's emotional sparring came first, their impossible beauty came second.
Taylor landed the role of a lifetime playing one of history's great seductresses, but the epic 1963 film got press for all sorts of reasons. One - she played opposite Richard Burton, who she would go on to marry twice (once in Montreal). Two - this was the most expensive movie ever filmed at the time. Three - with this film Taylor became the first actress ever to be paid a million dollars. Snap.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
For the "Most Beautiful Woman in the World," as Taylor was once called, choosing to do this meaty Edward Albee adaptation in 1966, opposite Richard Burton (again) was a gutsy move. She played an abusive alcoholic so convincingly, she ended up with her second Oscar. A brilliant, brilliant performance.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. (Associated Press)
-- by Arisa Cox
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