A two-part movie, actually two concurrent stories, that reveals the dissolution of an eighteen-year marriage from two points of view. The stories are set in Rome, where the wealthy Martin (Richard Burton) and Jane Reynolds (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) 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
An Interesting TV Movie Aside From its Obvious Limitations
I note some interesting remarks in the comments by others about this two-part movie. I won't attempt to do a thorough job in reviewing it because that is already well-handled by them. It is an interesting TV movie, simply because of the subject matter and who is in it. I can't join those who think Liz was so great because I have never been impressed with her acting, or for that matter, her alleged beauty. In general, her performances range from reasonably good to really bad, the best thing I saw her in so far probably "The Sandpiper," also with Richard Burton, while the worst that I recall was "Butterfield 8," which ironically garnered her rave reviews. I've yet to see "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," which certainly got a lot of critical attention. As for her looks, Liz was attractive as a very young woman in "National Velvet" and "Father of the Bride," but had the unfortunate tendency to resemble grilled pork as she boozed her way into middle age, where she looked like she would spout grease if you poked her with a fork. As other's have said, in the right light, she could still be attractive, but from unflattering angles, she simply looked bad. And a nasty, vindictive aspect of her personality surfaced any time she was supposed to be acting angrily. There is a tenderness that came through, as well, like at the end of this movie where she hoped Burton wouldn't be hurt when she asked for a formal divorce and told him to stay away from her and their children for awhile. But she was a very manipulative woman who was something of a drama queen, exemplified by the way she drug him back from the airport for no particular reason, ostensibly wanting to talk. You got the impression that she really did act that way in real life.
Still, I found occasional moments here to be interesting. Taylor's jewelry, as one reviewer pointed out, is very impressive, especially the pearl and diamond necklace. Three scenes stood out. One is the scene where Burton tells his sarcastic son that he, for once, had an entire afternoon to do with as he pleased, and he didn't want to spend it with him. Touche' to that one, as the snotty little b**t**d deserved it in spades. Second is the scene in which Burton explains to Liz why he felt he had to cheat on her the first time. He simply couldn't stand the thought of her doing it to him, he explains, in which his faithful cuckoldry would make him feel "like a fool, a complete fool." He gives this line some real emphasis and then sort of laps at his drink like a thirsty hound (a booze hound), holding the glass with both hands. I found this very amusing, both from the sexual and the alcoholic standpoint. The third scene I liked is where the African head of state, Kaduna, explains to Burton how he has been thoroughly used to soften up his old boss so that the leader can merely improve the terms of the impending deal. He had no intention of insisting upon the hard line strongly recommended by "Martin" (Burton's character), knowing full well the situation would demand that Burton submit his resignation. The black actor in that role did a superb job, I thought, playing the canny African politician who patronized his white adviser while secretly feeling himself decidedly superior.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this