The Faust legend retold (loosely) and applied to a mentally disturbed patient in a hospital run by a doctor of dubious sanity himself. The patient (Burton) offers the innocent orderly (... See full summary »
This is a delightful if peculiar story of a day in the life of a small, Welsh fishing village called "Llareggub" (read it backwards). We meet a host of curious characters (and ghosts) ... See full summary »
Film version of playwright Tennessee Williams' "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" involves very wealthy Flora 'Sissy' Goforth, supposedly dying, and living in a large mansion on a secluded island with her servants and nurses; into her life comes a mysterious man, Angelo Del Morte and "the Witch of Capri." The mysterious man may or may not be "The Angel of Death". Written by
In the original play, the character of "The Witch Of Capri" is an elderly woman. When this film was being prepared, the part was initially offered to Katherine Hepburn, who turned it down with (according to director Joseph Losey) considerable indignation. It was then decided to turn the character into a man, and Noel Coward took the part for a fee of $75,000. His two weeks on the film were marked by strong antagonism between him and Michael Dunn, who played Elizabeth Taylor's bodyguard. See more »
The terrace scene very late in film begins with characters commenting on sunset occurring behind them, yet the rest of scene plays out in bright afternoon sunshine. See more »
Flora 'Sissy' Goforth:
Did somebody tell you I was dying this summer? Did somebody tip you off that Sissy Goforth was about to go forth this summer?
Yes. That's why I came.
Flora 'Sissy' Goforth:
Well, well. I've escorted six husbands to the eternal threshold and come back alone without them. Now it's my turn. I've no choice but to do it, but I want to do it alone. I don't want to be escorted. I want to go forth alone. And you... you counted on touching my heart because you knew I was dying. Well, you miscalculated with this one. The milk ...
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`Boom' is a blast! This is one of the most fun of the Burton - Taylor films. "Boom" is also a gassy misfire that draws one into the veiled world of aging homosexual desire disguised as a heterosexual struggle between an aging, dying woman and the unattainable youth in the angel of Death.
This is story wearing a beard. Taylor's role is really that of an aging rich gay man who is trying to hang on to youth and the beauties that great beauty attract. After all, her name is `Sissy'. Burton's role is that of the hustler who is all that is left for the old queen to attract. But as with so many Williams works it all must be encrypted and coded so that the America of the late 50's and early 60's could handle his true intentions, the soft underbelly of his plays. Burton is too old for the role that was written for a man in his twenties and Taylor is too young and too healthy looking to be the dying Sissy. But despite that, the story of a struggle of great wealth against the inevitable grows from loopy strangeness to a compelling and moving ending. Here Taylor gives one of her oddly finest post Virginia Woolf studies in a dramatic/comic performance. There is in fact so much subversive humor in her performance that she is at times hilarious. Her vocal range dances from the shrill to the silly to the grand dame and all to serve her imperious and ultimately terrified Sissy Goforth. In the last desperate half hour of the film she does some of her finest work. Burton is rather cool and distant at first but builds his Angelo De Morte into a truly fine character study. In particular, listen to his fine delivery of the speech about the old man in the sea.
Particular note should be made of the cinematography, which is gorgeous, and the stunning sun washed bone toned opulent glamour of the sets. I understand that the Burtons owned the house in Sardinia for a while after the film was completed. The spare and haunting score by John Barry is an added delight to his impressive repertoire. And for you jewelry fans there is plenty of Miss Taylor's own jewelry on hand. So get out your copy of `My Love Affair With Jewelry' my Elizabeth and thumb along as she parades her diamonds in the Mediterranean sun.
Campy? Yes! Great? Maybe we will know about that in another 40 years. Is it worth your time? Only if you like a challenge and are willing to let the Burtons take you into the world of Tennessee Williams camp classic.
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