Saturday, January 05, 2013

Book 50: Furious Love

We read the play and watched the film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof my senior year of high school but besides that I don't think I've ever seen an Elizabeth Taylor movie, and certainly not one of the ones with Richard Burton.  Still, it's basically impossible to not know at least a little bit about Elizabeth, her various marriages, Richard Burton, and not be impressed by her standing in pop culture and film history.
Maybe I would have enjoyed this more if I'd also watched some of the films while reading the book.  However, while I think the book gave a very good portrayal of the famous couple, and was very sympathetic to them, at some point it all got to be too much.  Then again, given the book's subject that actually makes sense: Taylor and Burton enjoyed their quiet moments but being "Liz and Dick" took its toll, and their life together was certainly defined by excess - alcohol, food, diamonds.  I liked the book for the most part, but it just got to the point where I was ready for it to be over.  Perhaps like their marriage, it just went on a bit too long.  Still, it was a very comprehensive discussion of their marriage, and put some of the Hollywood legend into context for me. I'm not sure if I would quite say it humanized her because the life Taylor led still seems very excessive and so removed from normality but it certainly illuminated what it was like to be Hollywood royalty in the past.

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