In Butterfield 8, Elizabeth Taylor played the biggest tramp in New York and won her first Oscar, beating Shirley MacLaine for The Apartment, who famously said, "I lost to a tracheotomy!" Many agreed that Liz won on a sympathy vote for her real-life near-death experience.
What did everyone think of the movie itself? I loved the supporting cast--Dina Merrill, Kay Medford, Susan Oliver, Betty Field, Mildred Dunnock, even Eddie Fisher--but Laurence Harvey
(who looked just like Jude Law at a certain point in his career) was dreadful. Liz was Liz, glamorous and contemptuous. Did she ever play a likable character as an adult?
Catherine in Suddenly, Last Summer is kind of likable. And Desiree in ALNM.
Liz looked hot, but this was hardly an Oscar-worthy performance. The writing was lurid and dreadful. Eddie Fisher should have never been allowed to be in front of a film camera. Betty Field and Mildred Dunnock were great, though. I'm glad Liz knew it was a sympathy Oscar; she has said as much in later interviews.
Cant stand Liz Taylor as a personality. Cant bear her baby Jane acting style. And she was a HUGE WHORE on top of it all. Without money...she would have just been considered trailer trash where I come from.
First, Deborah Kerr deserved to win for her transcendant performance in The Sundowners. A shame it was her last nomination and she had never won.
As for Liz in BUtterfield 8, I watched it after she died last year and was surprised that I found it quite effective -- the pop psychology of the film has turned out to be pretty much correct -- and Liz is quite good -- she runs the gamut, and does so rather convincingly. And that opening sequence is still incredibly sexy and sultry.
Too bad: she insisted on Eddie Fisher to play the friend, he's dreadful; the movie literally goes off the rails in the last act.
Susan Oliver is the best. I wish someone would start a thread about her. She was in just about every 60's movie and TV show you can think of. Possibly a lesbian (was an aiplane pilot and never married).
R3, I would bet money you've slept with far more people than Liz Taylor has.
As far I am concerned Liz put the death nail in Marilyn Monroe's coffin. Because while MM was filming her last film SGTG, Liz was "filming" Cleopartra....actually she was chasing married dick (again!) in the form of Richard Burton. THis and all her other antics nearly bankrupted Fox studios...not Marilyn. But Monroe got the blame and took the brunt of the punishment. In the aftermath Monroe was dead, Taylor's film flopped, a marriage was broken up by Liz (again) , Fox nearly was bankrupted - they had to sell a major portion of the back lot and suddenly Liz started talking with a baby voice...like Monroe! After Monroe's death! Tacky tacky tacky bitch.
Miss Taylor was not a whore. She married all the men she slept with.
OMG R9 I love your sarcasm.
Butterfield was total camp. Harvey was simply too gay to have anything resembling to be chemistry with La Liz.He was far more of a queen than Liz was in this movie! Liz was not a method actress so her performance was stilted and stagey.
Was Susan Oliver a dyke?She was quite hot. Not the greatest actress BUT she had a great look to be sure.
Haven't seen this film in years. Ms. Taylor did fine work in:
A Place in the Sun
Suddenly, Last Summer
Cat On a Hot Tin Roof
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and
The Taming of the Shrew
And of course, her work raising awareness and research money for AIDS is monumental.
Loved the car crash when I was a kid.
She's actually pretty good in Butterfield 8. The movie just dies when she isn't in a scene.
People have trouble recognizing that giving a good performance doesn't necessarily mean you seem exactly like a real person. I'm so bored with the Lincoln and the Margaret Thatcher imitations, which seem designed to appeal mostly to high school English teachers. Those performances aren't worth ten seconds of Taylor walking around in her slip.
The film is pulpy trash. I saw it on TCM and it was at times embarrassing. The fact that she won an Oscar® for this role said more about the Academy voters than anything else.
Taylor was the most overrated, overexposed star of her time.
I wish the Streep Troll would weigh in. I'd love to know what he/she/it thinks of Liz and her oeuvre.
She was likeable in Giant, but her approach to playing Catherine in Suddenly Last Summer was ridiculously campy instead of compassionate. Yeah, I know, that goes with the territory of the narrative, but I thought she was way over the top and not in a good way.
I'm tired of people trashing Liz in this movie. She was competent and it was a slow year. So what? They gave one to Sandra Bullock and Natalie Portman, for chrissakes.
Liz is remarkable (and sympathetic) in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. She conveys Maggie's desperation, conniving, hope, and sexuality to the audience all at once.
Then jump off the roof, Maggie. Jump off it.
Liz wasn't the problem with this tedious, un-impassioned piece of crap. Laurence Harvey was, as was the screenplay. Sure, Liz could NOT manage playing "serious upset" - that's when her shrill, unconvincing screech took over and confidence in her performance plummeted. But other than that it was just a shallow nothing. Until she had her throat perforated and stole the Oscar for it.
Don't forget Julia Roberts, R19.
For the record, I loved Portman in Black Swan. And I love the DL. Everyone, no matter how merit worthy, will be trashed here.
"She's actually pretty good in Butterfield 8. The movie just dies when she isn't in a scene."
Oh please, the movie goes from boring to camp when she's onscreen, but that doesn't mean she deserved a fucking Academy Award for it!
Oscars are supposed to be given for acting. Not for star quality, not for beauty, and not even for some of the best publicity mongering in the history of mankind. And I do give her credit for being the most gifted publicity whore of the 20th century, it's a singular achievement, but Deborah Kerr deserved that particular Oscar.
Is it fair to say that Elizabeth Taylor was to film as Madonna is to music?
Taylor hated that film, and her performance in it. It was forced on her by MGM to fulfill her contract, and she was quite vocal about her disdain for it. She knew she only won the Oscar as a sympathy vote; she made up for it with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which should have been her sole Oscar win.
If the Razzies existed Eddie Fisher would have won worst supporting actor. Harvey would have been the priisiest Queen. And Liz Taylor as Worst Actress of all time.
The Oscars are not about acting it's a popularity contest. If it was about acting Eric Roberts would have 3 Oscars and Julia would be toiling in Z-grade films or cavorting with Harvey Weinstein for gigs.
I baptise myself the Slut of Springfield
Reva Shayne Lewis
[quote]Oscars are supposed to be given for acting. Not for star quality, not for beauty, and not even for some of the best publicity mongering in the history of mankind
I don't know when educated people started treating the Academy Awards as True and Great, as opposed to a campy trashfest worthy of mockery.
I guess it started about the time the American public's ability to spot a phony began to decline.
She's actually rather touching as the doomed Helen in "The Last Time I Saw Paris".
[quote] If the Razzies existed Eddie Fisher would have won worst supporting actor. Harvey would have been the priisiest Queen. And Liz Taylor as Worst Actress of all time.
So we could have had both a Razzie and an Oscar awarded to the same person for the same performance.
R28 Please no saop trolling here the Oscars are bad enough. Then again Kimmie AKA Reva did a better job on OLTL and GL than Liz ever did in her life. The best thing about Taming of The Shrew were Liz's breates(sic). If you admired those babies then you might not be a 10 on the Kinsey scale....Her acting in that one was beyond campy,it was putrid. Reva never would have attempted to do Old Willie wrong like that.
I love Betty Field and she's hilarious in this movie. Her asides about Liz are great and she still manages to show some heart. An underrated and always appreciated screen presence.
Liz got the Oscar because she almost died around voting time or as R21 beautifully put it, for having her throat perforated.
And testify, R29.
Oh and I would love someone to do a good adaptation of the book in the right period (early 1930s) and with the gruesome death from the original. It was based on an actual case. And I love the lead character's name, Gloria Wandrous.
[quote]Oh and I would love someone to do a good adaptation of the book in the right period (early 1930s
Agree. Likewise, a film version of Appointment in Samarra.
"Miss Taylor was not a whore. She married all the men she slept with."
No, she didn't. That was something she liked to say, but God knows it wasn't true.
Do the Academy Awards give out "sympathy" awards anymore? Liz got one for having a tracheotomy. Peter Finch got one for dying. Marlee Matlin won because she's deaf. Wasn't there a war veteran missing some limbs who won one? Those are the ones I can remember.
Her complexion was wrong for all the pearl necklaces he had.
Yesn R36. I can't remember his name but there was a WWII vet who won for his performance in Capra's The Best Years of Our Lives.
[quote]The Oscars are not about acting it's a popularity contest
I've come to the conclusion that life is one big popularity contest.
(R24) is pretty prissy about the high honor and status of the Academy Awards.
The Oscars have a long history of silly ass awards. Liz gives a good star turn in Butterfield 8 and is the main reason it holds up as good campy fun. Far from the worst Oscar of all time- and her acceptance speech is a classic. I know people who vote for the entertainment value of seeing the person win. I think that's helped Jack Nicholson.
I saw Airport a few weeks ago and chuckled at Helen Hayes getting an Oscar for that Murder She Wrote guest spot. Far worse than poor Liz.
My favorite Oscar tid bit:
"In 1929, Rin Tin Tin received the most votes for the first Academy Award for Best Actor, but the Academy determined that a human should win."
Let the SJP jokes begin!
Liz herself called the movie Butterball 8.
Other than the opening scene, which she puts minimal effort into, the film was ridculous. The script unbelievable and Lawrence Harvey seriously miscast.
But that opening scene, based solely on her screen presence ... wonderful.
Agree with the posters that say we need a well made adaptation of BU-8, set in the 30s and with a heroine called Gloria Wandrous. Who would play Gloria?
I think Rachel McAdams could do it, R41.
[quote] But that opening scene, based solely on her screen presence ... wonderful.
R36 You're thinking of Harold Russell, but confusing films and directors--it was for William Wyler's It's a Wonderful Life.
Gentlemen, an observation: I have never heard so many ersatz wannabe movie critics use the words "camp" or "campy" to describe movies in my entire LIFE as I have here on Datalounge.
Is it possible that, since YOU'RE such QUEENS. YOU'RE obsessed with what you call "camp," and EVERYTHING seems "campy" to you?
For the remake?
I nominate Jennifer Connelly for Gloria.
R44, Frank Capra directed "It's a Wonderful Life." The WWII movie you're referencing is William Wyler's "The Best Years Of Our Lives." Harold Russell deserved that Oscar, imo.
Jennifer Connolly as a fifty year old Gloria?
It's got to be someone sexy -- maybe Scarlett Johannson
How about Bonnie Franklin?
Helen Lawson [bold]IS[/bold] Gloria Wandrous in BUtterfield-8!
I watched it for a short time the other night, but it didn't keep my interest. Really trashy for its time, but I would have stuck around more if it was more camp or if Taylor had turned in a better performance. Sympathy and recognition she should have gotten the award for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (where she's pure sex) won her the Oscar.
Was shocked to see Eddie Fisher--he looked like an old schmendrick already. Laurence Harvey just seems to walk through the thing.
Lawrence looked like his head had come to a point. I begged him to play some solitaire to calm down.
Actually, Scarlett Johansson is a good choice for a new BUtterfield 8. Would be interesting to see her as a flapper whore.
R47. Of course--I was attempting irony. my mistake.
I watched it on TMC this week too and I thought it was rather boring, but no points for Dina Merill? Granted she played herself, a rich gorgeous wife but you can't take your eyes off her.
Used to adore Elizabeth Taylor. When I was growing up her jewels, breasts, husbands and jet setting lifestyle were considered scandalous and excessive, which rendered her fascinating in my opinion.
A few years ago I read Kitty Kelley's biograpy on Elizabeth. I am no longer fascinated.
I watched this again on TCM the other night.. And, have to say the film doesn't really hold up with age. However, thought ET was great when her character relayed her story of being molested at the age of 13 by the family friend...
Any gossip on Laurence Harvey?
[quote][R47]. Of course--I was attempting irony. my mistake.
My apologies, R55. It's hard to tell around here sometimes. It was pretty stuffy & schoolmarmish of me to "correct" you, anyway.
Watching that movie made me appreciate Linz's performance in Liz and Dick
Harold Russell's performance in "The Best Years of Our Lives" is superb. William Wyler is a far greater director than the much overrated John Ford, and has a better track record than Orson Welles (who directed one masterpiece "Citizen Kane" and one near masterpiece "Touch of Evil"--everything else is style over substance). I've always been bewildred why "The Best Years of Our Lives" has been overlooked. Great film and for my money Fredric March's performance is beyond praise.
"Butterfield 8" is not as bad as everyone says and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is not as good as everyone says. Taylor does not understand Maggie the way she does Gloria, and the reason she is so good as Martha is because that is the dark side of her relationship to Burton. The Academy has done far worse than Taylor. Helen Hunt? Katherine Hepburn? Joan Crawford?
Let the flaming begin. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
R50 Bonnie Franklin has cancer. So she won't be available.
R25 the answer is 'no'. Rather it is fair to say that Elizabeth was to music what Madonna was to film.
Thank you r61 - Cat is not as good as everyone says it is and Liz does not understand Maggie.
The supporting cast was wonderful, but Newman and Taylor were just preternaturally beautiful people walking around the set.
Couldn't take your off her, though.
It is such a shame Lindsay Lohan didn't get to deliver that line in "Liz & Dick."
(R3) Means he grew up in a double wide.
"Cat" is a mess, mostly because the Code didn't allow them to say why Brick's attachment to skipper was so intense. Liz is very good given the constraints of the plot and the film has great moments usually involving Liz or Burl Ives' disdain for those "no neck monsters" and their mother. Madeline Sherwood is great as the passive aggressive, gold digging southern in-law.
There are many kinds of actresses who can turn in a notable performance. Not everyone has to be a technician like Streep or an inhabitor like Spacek. Some actresses need a part with which they can bring something, a strong director and decent castmates--Donna Reed who had usually wound up in B-movies and rarely showed range is great in "From Here to Eternity" where she had all the pieces and could draw on having been a farm girl who was looked down upon by the "town" girls. Liz really made the most of her sex appeal in "Cat" because that's what Brick is neglecting. She has good, genuine rapport with the Burl Ives character which is the other essential. When she's on the screen you can't take your eyes off her and frankly that's an accomplishment when Newman is on teh screen, too.
R61, I think The Best Years of Our Lives reputation suffers from a form or revisionism that doesn't like emotionalism. It was one of my father's favorite films, as it told much of the story of what it was like to go from small town to war and back again. People don't seem to like "the story of us" as much as something outside themselves--does that make sense? They'd rather a grand spectacle than see people like themselves dealing with everyday problems.
"Is it possible that, since YOU'RE such QUEENS. YOU'RE obsessed with what you call "camp," and EVERYTHING seems "campy" to you?"
You don't really understand camp, do you? That's okay. Camp wouldn't exist without dull, earnest people like you willing to take everything at face value.
So thank you for the gift of camp.