Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


BUTTERFIELD 8 (1960). Director: Daniel Mann.

"Let's face it -- I was the slut of all time!"

Gloria (Elizabeth Taylor) is a beautiful "model" who is chased by men and considered a complete slut by the prudish. Her best friend is Steve (Eddie Fisher), whose girlfriend Norma (Susan Oliver), is jealous of Gloria. Gloria's latest conquest -- or is it the other way around? -- is Weston Liggett (Laurence Harvey), who is married to the very wise Emily (Dina Merrill). Things threaten to come to a boil when Emily finds her mink coat missing, unaware that hubby loaned it to Gloria ... Mildred Dunnock is Gloria's concerned mother and Betty Field the mother's friend, Fanny. Kay Medford is an ex-vaudevillian motel owner who sadly remembers the glory days and Carmen Mathews has a good turn as Emily's mother. Harvey is excellent, Taylor is quite good [although perhaps not quite deserving of the Oscar she won], and Fisher -- who was then married to Taylor -- does a nice job as well, although he always tends to get knocked by critics and biographers. Taylor has an especially good scene telling Fisher about her childhood sexual abuse. The movie has the odd distinction of being somewhat "modern" and yet dated at one and the same time. The impression one gets is that the film is trying to paint Gloria as an emotionally wounded "sexaholic" yet there's also that old double-standard that men who sleep around are studs but women who do the same are whores -- and that ending!

Verdict: At least you've got Liz sauntering sexily. ***.

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