Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Those Violet Eyes . . . Farewell, Elizabeth Taylor

When I was a girl I'd go to the Saturday matinee at the Capitol Theatre in Charlottetown and watch Elizabeth Taylor: first in Lassie movies, then in National Velvet, which confirmed me (and no doubt every little girl in the audience) as a want-to-be equestrian. 

The list of influential films goes on: I didn't suspect that Raintree County would fit my dissertation; watched Suddenly, Last Summer with the "male gaze" in mind; was delighted to see how A Place in the Sun complemented Dreiser's American Tragedy.  All three films were made with Monty Clift, who could move fluidly between lover and psychiatrist.

Sometimes I think that the Taylor I remember best is the actress of Giant and East of Eden, but then I'm reminded of Ash Wednesday or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as well as films I didn't see, like her iconic Cleopatra.

And then I remember her marriages.  One headline I always show my journalism students is this one:

How Many Husbands Are Enough?
Liz Says 6

because it demonstrates that the only appropriate way to have a question in a hed is to answer it. (This hed was obviously pre-1991.)

But then there's her groundbreaking activism for AIDS research, her friendship with Michael Jackson, her jewelry, her perfume, and always, throughout each film, each fundraiser, each friendship or business venture, there were her shockingly beautiful violet eyes, for which technicolor was truly made.

What do gentle readers remember most about Elizabeth Taylor?


WendyB said...

I can't even pick one attribute that stands out above all others...everything about her is so interesting! I did choose to write about her jewelry on my blog, but that's just because I'm a jeweler :-)

K.Line said...

You have chosen two fantastic photos. Thanks for sharing, Miss C.

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

Did you ever see her in "Secret Ceremony" with Mia Farrow? Gorgeous film. My favorite is "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." For the story line mostly, but also because it's the movie that best shows off her acting chops. I don't mean she played the character well, she always did that. What I mean is that during filming her then-husband Mike Todd was killed in a plane crash. I read somewhere that she took a week off (holed up with Eddie Fisher somewhere) and then showed up on set to finish the film. And what a film, right?