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 »
The venomous and amoral wife of a wealthy architect tries, any way she can, to break up the blossoming romance between her husband and his new mistress; a good-natured young widow who holds a dark past.
Brian G. Hutton
A two-part film, actually two concurrent stories, that reveals the dissolution of an 18-year marriage from two points of view. The stories are set in Rome, where the wealthy Martin and Jane Reynolds meet by chance after a two-year separation. In the first of the two stories, Martin has returned to Rome on business, representing an African managerial firm. Martin remembers his marriage as a rather sado-masochistic union. Part two examines the marriage from Jane's point of view, focusing more on the family life, on how the children have been scarred by the crumbling marriage. Written by
Liz Taylor and Richard Burton star as an estranged couple whose lives have taken divergent paths following an acrimonious divorce several years earlier. The TV movie explores the impact of the separation from each other's perspective, Burton, a wealthy businessman in Rome sewing up a deal on behalf of his African company, Liz, juggling the care of their three children, each exhibiting different impacts of the separation. A great deal of postulating and ruminating is done about the travails of marriage, and time spent discussing 'what went wrong', people making, taking and declining phone calls, and a seemingly inordinate amount of time spent showing Burton in transit, clutching briefcase, looking concerned (or ambivalent, it's difficult to tell) in and out of Rome airport.
It's classic soap opera, and at over two hours, an epic one at that mercifully, being shown in two parts allows for a much needed intermission, where you can decide whether you really want to return for more. Carrie Nye plays a promiscuous dalliance of Burton with whom he has a brief affair, while Gabriele Ferzetti is Liz's momentary Latin beau. Barry Foster has a prominent supporting role as Burton's associate and frustrated confidante, while some audiences might recognise ubiquitous West Indian actor Rudolph Walker (of "Love Thy Neighbour") in a small role as a businessman.
Given the locations (Rome/Munich), it's a shame there aren't more exterior shots, but then, this is a TV movie and much less a postcard than a long and sometimes tawdry account of the impact of divorce on all concerned. Nice music, but possibly more of interest to those who enjoy the Taylor/Burton collaborations; other audiences my find things a bit slow-moving and talky.
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