Elizabeth Taylor won her second Best Actress Oscar for her performance as the boozy, blowsy Martha in this celebrated adaptation of Edward Albee’s epochal, taboo-breaking play.
Based on Edward Albee’s epochal, taboo-breaking play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won Elizabeth Taylor her second Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Martha, the boozy, blowsy, foul-mouthed wife of hapless history professor George (Richard Burton). Adept at alcoholic abuse, the dipso duo invite another couple into their domestic arena of cruelty: a young biology prof (George Segal) and his meek wife (Sandy Dennis), whose ingenuous names Nick and Honey mark them as targets in the older couple’s vicious sport. Liquored-up and raging against each other and the world, George and Martha ensnare the young marrieds in a game of verbal evisceration that escalates into tales of a long-dead son whose birthday is imminent. Although more age-appropriate actresses such as Bette Davis and Ingrid Bergman were first vaunted for the lead, Taylor’s cyclonic embodiment of the slovenly, raucous Martha proved terrifyingly indelible. Wes Anderson recently chose Virginia Woolf as one of his five favourite films, calling it “The most beautiful, inspired, exciting movie.”
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