ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)

USA 131m, B&W
Director: Mike Nichols; Cast: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis

whos_afraid_of_virginiaWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a demanding film that provides a barrage of caustic and quick-witted dialogue adapted from the play of the same name. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as husband and wife, who verbally take out their personal frustrations on a young professor and his mousey wife who come to visit them late one evening. Over the course of visit, which lasts the entire night, Burton and Taylor give tremendous performances as an extremely unhappy couple who live out a delusional life that is fueled by alcohol and which is perpetuated by his lack of success in academia, and their inability to have children. Although the plot is minimalistic and the characters are highly unlikable, the excellent writing and outstanding performances demand and deserve your utmost attention (Klaus Ming December 2009).


8 comments on “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)

  1. Derrick

    this review makes me want to watch it

  2. Laura

    Great review Klaus! This movie is worth watching Derrick.

  3. klausming

    Richard Burton should have won the Academy Award for Best Actor with his performance as “George”. He and Liz Taylor were at their best in this one.

  4. John

    Fans of Virginia Wolf may want to check out Faces (1968)

  5. joem18b

    this one created huge buzz when it came out, at least among twenty-somethings. mike nichols had helped create second city and he and elaine may together were a very popular standup act at the time, and this was his first movie (i think). everybody wondered how he’d do. it was a year before he made the graduate. burton and taylor were hollywood’s top couple, now married, after hooking up during cleopatra. the late 60s were a time of exciting new cinema and albee’s play just seemed smart and arty and modern, and burton and taylor, though playing older in the movie, were still only 34 and 41. i remember feeling quite cool after seeing it.

  6. Klaus

    I’d not seen this film until this past year and was quite surprised at how well it stood up after 40 years!

    • joem18b

      I wonder if it’s true that, as a general rule, more plays on film stand up better over time than screenplays on film. I just watched The Man Who Came to Dinner, You Can’t Take It With You, and Pygmalion, and they all seemed of-their-time, but not dated to me.

      • Klaus

        That’s a very interesting thought – I’d never thought about that, but yeah, i completely agree. I suspect that their continued relevance has a lot to do with the high quality of the original story/play which was adapted as a screenplay.

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This entry was posted on 12/23/2009 by in 1001 List, 1960s, All, Top 100 and tagged .
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