best film: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? Is a weakness as it’s not one I ever think about for my top 100 films of all-time and we’re now into the top 25 actresses on this list. However, It’s still a superb film and is right there with Carnal Knowledge for Mike Nichols’ best after The Graduate. It’s a 4-actor chamber piece and it could feel incredibly stage-bound if it weren’t for Nichols adventurous direction.  In front of the camera, Burton and Taylor deserve almost all the credit- they are both transcendent.

best performance: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? is Taylor’s best performance and film by a decent margin. She’s a tour-de-force here. She’ plays older (she’s only 34 here) and put on weight for the role. Her “Martha” owns the screen and film. She’s incredibly dominant and mercilessly vindictive and violent through much of the film.

stylistic innovations/traits: She started as a talented child actress (11 years old at the time of Lassie Come Home in 1943) and was basically done (at least making quality films) at age 35 with Taming of the Screw. In 1950 and 1951 with Father of the Bride and A Place in the Sun she was widely considered the most beautiful woman in the world (or at least Hollywood) but her talent didn’t really shine through until her more challenging roles (and complex women) from Giant (1956 through Screw in 1967). She was arguably the best actress on the planet during that stretch with Virginia Wolf as the capper (and Academy Award win—her second). She could play dominant women (Cleopatra, Virginia Wolf) and certainly one with sass or an edge (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer).

directors worked with: Stevens (2)- this was an important partnership as its two of her best four films and performances (A Place in the Sun, Giant). She also worked with Minnelli once in Father of the Bride.

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
  2. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  3. Giant
  4. A Place in the Sun
  5. Suddenly, Last Summer

Archiveable films

1943- Lassie Come Home
1944- Jane Eyre
1944- National Velvet
1947- Life With Father
1949- Little Women
1950- Father of the Bride
1951- A Place in the Sun
1953- Ivanhoe
1956- Giant
1958- Cat On a Hot Tin Roof
1959- Suddenly, Last Summer
1963- Cleopatra
1966- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
1967- Taming of the Shrew