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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Butterfield 8 (1960)

A promiscuous "model" (Elizabeth Taylor in an Oscar winning performance) is having an affair with a married businessman (Laurence Harvey). When it seems to be moving toward a serious enough relationship that he's willing to leave his wife (Dina Merrill), it seems they can't get past her past. Based on the novel by John O'Hara and directed by Daniel Mann (THE ROSE TATTOO). The movie is a glossy unfaithful rendering of the O'Hara novel which was very much steeped in the 1930s but the film was updated to a modern (1960) setting. The film seems dishonest in its telling because it dances around the central core of the story rather than just putting it out there. It doesn't help that the two male leads are just awful. To be fair, Harvey seems grossly miscast (his tough act comes across more as bitchy than tough) and Eddie Fisher (Taylor's then husband) recites his lines dutifully but superficially. Taylor herself is actually very good but she seems to be acting in a vacuum without a movie to support her. With Betty Field, Mildred Dunnock, Susan Oliver, Jeffrey Lynn and Kay Medford.

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