A word of advice: If George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) ever ask you over for late-night cocktails--pass. On the other hand, if you have the opportunity to see Mike Nichols's scorching film version of Edward Albee's sensational play, don't miss it! Elegantly photographed in crisp black and white by the great Haskell Wexler, the play has been "opened up" for the screen by director Nichols (The Graduate, Primary Colors) and producer-writer Ernest Lehman (North by Northwest) without diluting its concentrated, claustrophobic power. Taylor has never been better or brasher as Martha, letting loose with all the fury of a drunken, frustrated academic's wife on one crazy Walpurgisnacht bender. Burton plays her husband, George, the ineffectual history prof married to the college president's daughter. And George Segal and Sandy Dennis are young, callow Nick and Honey, who have no idea what sort of mind-warping psychological games they're being drawn into. Among the most successful theatrical adaptations (artistically and popularly) ever brought to the screen. The entire principal cast was nominated for Oscars--and Taylor, Dennis, and cinematographer Wexler won. --Jim Emerson
Mike Nichols' first directorial effort represents a milestone in psychological realism and "foul" language in American cinema. George and Martha as played superbly and without vanity by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are as far from the bourgeois 1950s perfect married couple as you can get alternatively badgering berating abusing and loving each other both alone and accompanied by the naive young married couple that have come over for a nightcap (portrayed brilliantly by George Segal and Sandy Dennis). The fun and games in which George and Martha involve Nick and Honey are a lacerating look at the older couple's existence where the emotional brutalizing fill an unspeakable void at their center and a troubling preview of what the younger couple's life could become. Edward Albee's dramatic vision combines the banal the vulgar and the poetic and Ernest Lehman's adapted screenplay is amazingly faithful to the structure of Albee's play. The acting is uniformly excellent and Taylor and Burton were never better together. A harrowing movie experience but very worthwhile and finally unforgettable.System Requirements:Run Time: 131 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: TELEVISION/CLASSIC Rating: NR UPC: 012569821095 Manufacturer No: 82109
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