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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Cast: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, more...
Director: Mike Nichols
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Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 131 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Synopsis
"You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games." Thus read the ad copy for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which in 1966 went farther than any previous big-studio film in its use of profanity and sexual implication. George (Richard Burton) is an alcoholic college professor; Martha (Oscar-winner Elizabeth Taylor) is his virago of a wife. George and Martha know just how to push each other's buttons, with George having a special advantage: he need only mention the couple's son to send Martha into orbit. This evening, the couple's guests are Nick (George Segal), a junior professor, and Honey (Sandy Dennis), Nick's child-like wife. After an evening of sadistic (and sometimes perversely hilarious) "fun and games," the truth about George and Martha's son comes to light. First staged on Broadway in 1962 with Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill, Edward Albee's play was adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman, who managed to retain virtually all of Albee's scatological epithets (this was the first American film to feature the expletive "goddamn"). Lehman opened up the play by staging one of George's speeches in the backyard, and by relocating the film's second act to a roadside inn (he also added four lines--"all bad," according to Albee). Thanks to the box-office clout of stars Taylor and Burton, not to mention the titilation factor of hearing all those naughty words on the big screen, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf was a hit, and it won 5 Oscars, including awards for Taylor and Dennis, though it lost Best Picture to A Man for All Seasons. First-time director Mike Nichols lost the Oscar, but this movie gave him a perfect transition from his stage work and established him as a hot young Hollywood director, leading to his acclaimed (and Oscar-winning) work on his next movie, The Graduate. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

I'm afraid of Elizabeth Taylor by JRosha August 22, 2005 - 9:32 PM PDT
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2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
The jist of the play is as such: George and Martha are everybodys. A married couple whose innocent bickering turns spiteful and damaging as a young couple new to the University that George is employed at (and of who's Martha's father is the dean of) come by to play "get to know the neighbors" late after a party. As the play deepens, George and Martha's viscious game of entertaining themselves at their naive and younger guests progresses, and their madness is exposed. And when it is, its less of a surprise and closer to the heart of every person.
While easily one of the best plays ever written, Elizabeth Taylor and ensemble do it a huge injustice. She is simply not capable of suspending her desire to come across as beautiful to play this part that requires vulnerability and a deep range of emotions.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 8.34)
173 Votes
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Crash Course in Classic American Film (30s - 70s)
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This list is from Austin360.com's article about Paramont Theatre's Summer Classic Film series. I thought their list and brief descriptions were pretty good so I put it up for all to enjoy. (Of course there isn't room for all the classics on one list.)
etaviotal
Sadie Shaw's favorite movies
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The best movies ever
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