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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
`Divorce His; Divorce Hers' would be a much better film if it were trimmed from three to two hours. In this effort, T.V. producers attempt to milk the then world shaking coup of nabbing the Burton's for a two-night event (Their first Movie made for television). But the cow ran dry at two hours. The story of a crumbling marriage is told first from the husband's point of view and then in the second half is told from the wife's. Much of the same ground is covered twice and much more interestingly in the second half.
Jane and Martin Reynolds live La Dolce Vita in Rome in the early 70's and after 18 years come to the slow and painful end of their marriage. Rome looks wonderful in the location shots in the Borghese Gardens, along the Via Condotti at night, and Piazza Navona. And attendant with the glamour of Rome the aura of the Burtons is well served in making the Reynolds seem impossibly rich. Notice that Elizabeth wears her Krupp diamond and the famous La Peregrina Peal necklace. No successful business tycoon of Burton's character's income could have afforded such lux baubles for his wife. Still in the early 70's the Liz and Dick glamour machine must be well oiled and the public at the time expected it. Some degree of disbelief would be suspend in anticipation of the Burtons because we somehow felt that what we were seeing less a drama than a simi-documentary about Elizabeth and Richard. And perhaps in some ways those films were just that. Richard Burton's performance is somewhat stiff and cool with flashes of Welsh temper to pepper his scenes. But, over all, he seems rather distant and not too interested in the proceedings. But on the other hand Elizabeth's excellent training in film acting over the years by the masters at M.G.M. comes to her aid in creating a warm fully developed and wonderful lady in Jane. She shines in particular in her scenes with the children and in her scene with Carrie Nye when she learns of Miss Nye's relationship with her husband. She is missed when she is not on hand to bring a little life to Mr. Burton's scenes. Miss Taylor shimmers in her own inimitable way and once again shows new comers and old pro's what real screen acting is about. The film is by no means great but not nearly as bad as some reviewers would lead you to believe. `Divorce His: Divorce Hers' is worth seeing for Elizabeth's solid work.
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