Today saw the passing of Elizabeth Taylor (February 27, 1932 –March 23, 2011), a monumental film star and staple of Hollywood’s Golden Age of film. Though the passing of any cinematic star is a tragedy, there is always a silver-lining in knowing that their films will always be around forever even if they themselves cannot be. So in lieu of a single movie review, let’s take a quick glance at some of Taylor’s most appreciated films which you should watch and remember her by.
Father of the Bride (1950): Taylor’s first big break in cinema came with this romantic-comedy which tells the story of a father (Spencer Tracey) trying to cope with all of the calamities that happen between the time his daughter (Taylor) announces that she’s engaged until the wedding actually occurs. Though this film would later be remade in 1991, the original proves to be just as funny as the successful remake.
Giant (1956): An beautify adaptation of Edna Ferber’s novel of the same name, Giant is a epic drama covering the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family and friends. At the center of it all are leading men Rock Hudson and James Dean, both of whom compete for the affections and attention of Taylor.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958): Stars Paul Newman as Brick Pollitt, an alcoholic ex-football player, who drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife Maggie (Taylor). His reunion with his father, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
Cleopatra (1960): One of Taylor’s best known and perhaps most epic films, she became the first actor to be paid $1 Million dollars for a role as the titular character. However, despite the film’s talent and production values, it can be a bit meandering at times and its 192 min. run makes it a bit too epic for a lot of people to enjoy viewing it.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966): Easily Taylor’s most interesting and greatest film, the cinematic adaptation of Edward Albee’s play pits Taylor against Richard Burton as a bitter, aging couple who use alcohol, secrets and a visiting young couple to hurl anguish, verbal abuse and emotional pain at one other.
Secret Ceremony (1968): Perhaps the last film of significance in Taylor’s long and industrious career, she stars as mentally-unbalanced prostitute who insists that a young waif (Mia Farrow) is her long-lost daughter. The two develop a strange symbiotic relationship of insanity and deception which only worsens dramatically when the young girl’s brutal stepfather (Robert Mitchum) enters their world.
Find the nearest Blockbuster near your home so you can rent these films almost immediately. Or, if you prefer that movies came to you instead, set up a Netflix account and start your ordering as soon as possible.