Elizabeth Taylor

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reflections in a Golden Eye

The title image, as in a play by Tennessee Williams, recurs uncomfortably often. I guess that’s the way gay Southerners wrote way back then. Williams’ plays were made into films, however bastardized, when he was young and hot.
Carson McCullers’ novel was made into a film the year she died. The 1941 novel and 1967 film are set on an army base. And its stars were dimming: as Lyndon Johnson sent more and more troops into Vietnam, the Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor brands meant less and less. In 1941 people felt better about the army than they did in 1967. The film was not a hit, and it is difficult to find; but I liked it. Taylor is supposed to be sexy. And yet what fan would believe in Maggie the Cat after glimpsing Katharina the Shrew and the Martha of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Brando and Taylor were past time.

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