Butterfield 8

1960, Movie, NR, 109 mins

Review

BUTTERFIELD 8
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Glossy trash with the star at full throttle, it's the quintessental La Liz movie. Loosely based on John O'Hara's novel, loose Gloria Wandrous encompasses the legendary wanton Taylor persona; indeed, Hollywood was so pleased by the cementing of Hurricane Liz's public image they rewarded her with an Oscar. As for Taylor's critical response, when she watched it the first time in a screening room, she threw a high heel at the screen, fled to a john, and promptly threw up. All the more reason to tune in...

Liz reluctantly plays Gloria (the very idea--casting Liz in something tawdry and commercial), a "model" searching for understanding, who, like Liz, cannot breathe if she is not in love. Enter married rake, ultimate heel Laurence Harvey, who fancies Liz in a sort of violent bedroom way and we're off to the races. Our fave scenes: that opening, which chronicles a typical La Liz good morning, and the barside "disagreement" she shares with Harvey.

Miss Taylor gives quite a star performance and she's buoyed by a talented supporting cast with two eyesores: the bland Dina Merrill and the blank Eddie Fisher (his appearance was a consolation prize to soothe the star). This was the height of the "I stole Debbie's husband; so what?" scandal, so the public turned out in droves to snoop their chemistry (there was none) and hate Liz en masse. Hate turned to public sympathy when Taylor caught pneumonia in London and nearly died, surviving only when an emergency tracheotomy was performed (and guaranteed Liz a lot of Oscar sympathy votes). This was an important chapter in the Taylor Roadshow and she would next land CLEOPATRA, and celebrate by dumping Fisher. Meanwhile, enjoy BUTTERFIELD 8. It's a rave! leave a comment

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