True Classics is saddened to hear of the death of Elizabeth Taylor, age 79. She was extraordinarily famous for her personal life, as well as her acting. Sometimes, it may have even seemed that her larger-than-life persona overshadowed her talent, but her talent was considerable. She made numerous famous movies, including Cleopatra, Father of the Bride, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Butterfield 8, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
One of my personal favourites (which I have already reviewed on this blog) is National Velvet, where she plays a young girl who adores a horse. She takes the horse (The Pie) to a very prestigious steeplechase, and becomes his jockey (girls were not jockeys). She catapults to national fame as a brave young girl who loves her horse. Her performance in this film was innocent, endearing, and genuine. Not only did she capture the rapturous adoration a young girl can have for a horse, but the nature of a girl growing up in a small area, her perceptions of the world, and her grand dreams.
On the other side, she had a stellar performance in Suddenly, Last Summer— a performance many may not often consider. The next Therapy Thursday post will review this film in more detail, but for now, I’d like to mention how compelling her role was. She plays the widowed wife of the son in question (with Katharine Hepburn playing the mother). She’s fairly quiet throughout much of the film, as it focuses more on the mother’s version of the truth, but later, we see her in her full glory, particularly in her monologue. Finally, she is asked what happened on that fateful day, and she relates the story in an incredibly portrayed monologue. You see the full range of emotion, her impeccable tone as she remembers the story. It’s one of the best film monologues, although it may not come to mind as quickly as some more famous scenes–and it’s a crucial piece for the plot, so her selling it so brilliantly makes it an incredible adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play.
We wish you peace, Ms. Taylor.