Sybil Christopher, who has died aged 83, was the injured party in Hollywood's most famous on- and off-screen romance, that between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor during the making of Joe Mankiewicz's blockbuster epic Cleopatra (1963). Sybil Williams, as she was born, was the girl from the Welsh valleys whom Burton had married in 1949. Theirs was a tenacious and loving relationship that survived the actor's affairs with Claire Bloom and Susan Strasberg, among many others, and his hell-raising exploits.
Having ditched her own career as an actor to follow his star – and raise their two daughters – she always remained discreetly quiet about the marriage, filing for divorce in 1963 on the grounds of "abandonment and cruel and inhumane treatment". Moving to New York, she made a new career for herself on a tide of goodwill.
For the record, I considered compiling this list in alphabetical order or by year of the film's release, but then I realized I had already spent well over an hour just sorting through the massive catalogue of titles Netflix has now made available for instant streaming and realized Labor Day would be over by the time I finished arranging this list in any kind of order. Ready? Here you go.
''Motorama, '' alas, is not likely to appeal to those with three-digit IQs. Its most receptive audience may be among pre-teens, defying the curfew order.
Narratively, ''Motorama, '' screened here at the Chicago International Film Festival, sounds like it has got a lot going for it: a 10-year-old (Jordan Chrisopher Michael) sets out in a stolen red Mustang on a cross-Southwest states quest to win a gas station game. If the tyke can garner all the letters in the word ''motorama, '' he wins $500 million.
His venture is not sparked purely by the passions of winning the big bucks but are prompted by his, as the social scientist types would say, ''dysfunctional home life.''
Admittedly, brainy blond boys, in this post-Macaulay Culkin age, are disarmingly sympathetic characters when triumphing over dimball adults, but after the first few narrative miles, ''Motorama'' runs out of story gas. Kid drives car, stops for gas, gets contest tickets from cooty station attendant; drives off, stops for gas, gets tickets from goofball station attendant; drives off, stops for gas . . . on and on.
While there are glints and squints of the vast Southwest here that contain glimmers of satirical intelligence, ''Motorama'' is, for the most part, a dumb-numb ride. In Joseph Minion's monochromatic script, even the roadside loons are all of a similar dimension. Under Barry Shils' direction, ''Motorama'' comes across as being kind of a city slicker's apprehension of the weird outposts of the way-out West.
Technical contributions are sagely mounted: Dana Allyson's costume design is rightly wacko, while Vincent Jefferds and Cathlyn Marshall's production design conveys a peculiarly parched panorama.
Proletariat Productions Corp.
Producer Donald P. Borchers
Director Barry Shils
Screenwriter Joseph Minion
Editor Peter Verity
Music Andy Summers
Director of photography Joseph Yacoe
Costume design Dana Allyson
Production designer Vincent Jefferds, Cathlyn Marshall
Gus Jordan Christopher Michael
Phil John Diehl
Miss Lawton Robin Duke
Lewie Michael J. Pollard
Running time -- 90 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
(c) The Hollywood Reporter
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