Elizabeth Taylor

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The VIPs

Snowed in myself north of Syracuse, I was delighted to find The VIPs on cable. The VIPs concerns a group of travelers fogged in at London’s Heathrow Airport. Margaret Rutherford won an Oscar as best supporting actress. It has an all-star cast, but in fact it’s the first Taylor-Burton quickie, filmed while Cleopatra was still being edited, and making big money quickly out of cinema’s most celebrated affair. Terence Rattigan, a playwright put in temporary eclipse by the angry young men, whipped out a screenplay derived from the film Grand Hotel and an incident in the life of Vivien Leigh. Anthony Asquith directs Orson Welles as a director resembling the Fellini of 81/2, and then there’s Maggie Smith, Rod Taylor, etc. As the film opens, Burton and Taylor take a helicopter to Heathrow --what fog? They then drive their Rolls to the V.I.P. lounge. In the backseat, Burton gives Taylor a platinum bracelet because she’s going to New York alone. But, in fact, Taylor is leaving Burton for Louis Jourdan who is already in Heathrow. Burton “plays” a tycoon. Burton has deals to do and has to stay in London. He gets in his Rolls and heads to the City for business. And then along comes this terrible fog.


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