I’ve been on a huge Elizabeth Taylor kick lately, mostly because she’s Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month for July.
I’ve always been a great admirer of her work so I’ve essentially been rewatching the movies I’ve already seen several times plus a few new ones (Butterfield 8; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf).
I’m a firm believer that movies can be better the second time around and it doesn’t hurt when Elizabeth Taylor is there to make them great again.
My favorite Elizabeth Taylor movies are:
National Velvet (1944) – I first saw this when I was younger (8 or 9) and it has remained a favorite. Elizabeth Taylor plays Velvet Brown, a young girl who wins a horse in a lottery and trains him for the Grand National Steeplechase, with the help of Mi Taylor (Mickey Brown). This is no Dreamer; it’s much better.
A Place in the Sun (1951) – When she says “Seems like we’re always saying goodbye,” to Montgomery Clift at the end, I gasp and cry every time. By far one of the most romantic scenes (and a great tearjerker moment) to ever grace a movie screen.
Father of the Bride (1950) – And it’s sequel Father’s Little Dividend. This is more Spencer Tracy’s film , but Liz is great nonetheless.
Butterfield 8 (1960) – This movie won Elizabeth Taylor her first Oscar. She plays Gloria, a call girl with a painful past. When Gloria falls for a wealthy, philandering lawyer, her life changes direction. The final minutes are some of Elizabeth Taylor’s best screen moments.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) – 6 years later and another Oscar for the mantle. Based on the play by Edward Albee that shocked theater goers, the relationship between Martha and George makes them one of my favorite couples, despite how uncomfortable watching their marriage collapse is.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) – But my all-time favorite Elizabeth Taylor flick is without a doubt this Tennessee Williams play. Taylor plays southern belle Maggie who battles with her alcoholic husband (Paul Newman) and condescending in-laws. I love it when she coos to Paul Newman, “Lean on me, baby.”
Those are my picks. Of course, there are others I like (Giant, Suddenly, Last Summer), and I still need to see Raintree Country. And soon enough I will end up buying the Elizabeth Taylor: Signature Collection to add to my always growing DVD library.