The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
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,... See full summary »
Beautiful Gloria Wandrous, a New York fashion model engages in an illicit affair with married socialite Weston Liggett. However, Gloria's desire for respectability causes her to reconsider her lifestyle. Written by
In-joke: During the brief shot of an elevator-adjacent directory of tenants in an office building, one of the names listed is Ben-Hur (1959) - the same same studio's big hit of the previous year. See more »
During the car chase scene at the end, there are cars driving behind Liggett, visible through the rear window from inside the car. When the shot changes to a view of both cars on the highway, there is no-one behind him. See more »
Command performances leave me quite cold. I've had more fun in the back seat of a '39 Ford than I could ever have in the vault of the Chase Manhattan Bank.
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Two beautiful unhappy people from opposite ends of Eisenhower era America are drawn together by an obsessive love that ends in tragic consequences. Elizabeth Taylor won a Best Actress Oscar (after much better performances in earlier pictures such as `Cat On A Hot Tin Roof') for her portrayal of (shock!) call-girl Gloria Wandrous. Laurence Harvey plays the john, Weston Liggett, trapped in a stale marriage with his stoic wife Emily (Dina Merrill, perfect as a blue-blooded blonde heiress).
Complementing the moody performances of Liz and Laurence Harvey are an excellent Eddie Fisher as Gloria's long-suffering best friend and greatest admirer Steve, Mildred Dunnock as poor Mrs. Wandrous, in complete denial of her daughter's easy virtue, Betty Field as nosy neighbor Mrs. Fanny Barber, and many others including Kay Medford as tragicomic motel matron, Happy.
Lurking behind the scenes of `Butterfield 8' are some very grown up issues (particularly for its day) about infidelity, high class prostitution, childhood sexual abuse, and the meaning of true commitment. The dialogue by John Michael Hayes (`Peyton Place,' `To Catch A Thief,' and `Rear Window", among many credits) and Charles Schnee, is punchy and quick, and the movie glows with luscious cinematography from Hollywood veteran Joseph Ruttenberg, who got an Academy Award nomination for his efforts (he had previously won four Oscars dating back to 1938).
Although somewhat dated, it remains a thoughtful film (if you pay attention) and a visual treat for any Liz fan. Worth watching!
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