Last Friday night I had the chance to go to the theater to see an adaptation of Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The view of the play triggered some memories I had about 1966’s movie adaptation starring Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, both of them at their prime.
Based on one of the most famous American contemporary classics by Edward Albee, the film tells the development of a midnight party hosted by a middle-age couple, more interested in destroying each other than about attending their guests. Liz Taylor and Richard Burton deliver themselves in this Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Catch-22) flick like they ever did on film on this terrible drama treating so many subjects I wouldn’t ever finish listing them.
Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf tells us about a private game being played by a couple that is growing tired of themselves but that, at the same time, need each other in order to cope with the reality that their lives turned to. It’s a story about love, betrayal, frustration, impotence, humiliation, desire, hate, and most human feelings but also about how looks can be deceiving in either a positive and negative way.
While the young couple looks healthy and sane, George and Martha’s marriage is the reflection of a wreckage; that, however, might be just the surface. The development of the night, sped up by alcohol and human guts will show the true nature of those two couples.
Both Burton and Taylor play roles of characters older than they were at them time, a fact that made the good Elizabeth gain about 13-14 kg to be able to be casted in. Performance is top-notch, in both cases. Perhaps would be worth-mentioning how Burton and Taylor were a real couple at that time and quite assiduous to the pages of most newspapers due to their scandals.