Elizabeth Taylor was a fine actress and a compelling screen presence. The movies are full of extraordinary beauties, but few could better dominate a camera’s attention.
She won her Oscar for Butterfield 8, which was entirely her vehicle. But my favorite Elizabeth Taylor performances were in the ensemble casts of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Giant. Although A Place in the Sun is Montgomery Clift’s movie, Elizabeth Taylor is essential – if an 18-year-old Elizabeth Taylor fell in love with him, what man wouldn’t at least think about killing for her?
[If you want drama, Tennessee Williams ladles it on thick in 1958’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The movie version of Williams’ steamy Southern Pulitzer Prize-winning play stars Elizabeth Taylor in a slip and Paul Newman with a crutch and a drink. Taylor and Newman are great, but Burl Ives steals the movie as Big Daddy. Madeleine Sherwood is outstanding as the weaselly daughter-in-law Ida.]