Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Burton and Taylor Excerpt...

Married and divorced twice, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were in love with one another until the end of their days but could not make their marriage work. Burton once compared their love to an "exciting volcano".

In November 1968, Burton wrote: "I have been inordinately lucky all my life but the greatest luck of all has been Elizabeth. She has turned me into a model man but not a prig, she is a wildly exciting lover-mistress, she is shy and witty, she is nobody's fool. She is a brilliant actress, she is beautiful beyond the dreams of pornography, she can be arrogant and willful, she is clement and loving. She is Sunday's child, she can tolerate my impossibilities and my drunkenness, she is an ache in the stomach when I am away from her and she loves me. She is prospectus that can never be entirely catalogued, an almanac for poor Richard. And I shall love her forever."


"Yours is a capricious nature..."

How to Steal a Million (1966) is one of those movies that I watch all the time, at least once a month, if not once a week. I wouldn't say it's the best movie ever made, but it's one of my favorites all the same. It's one of those films that reminds me just how girly I can be. This is my film equivalent of a box of chocolates or a spoon in a carton of ice cream. It's my indulgence, and every bite is perfectly decadent.

This movie is generally categorized as a Heist picture. It's about a girl who hires a guy to help her steal a forged statue before it can be examined and exposed as a fake. The statue was made by her grandfather (her father is also a forger, but his specialty is painting) and she is desperately trying to save her family's reputation before it can be ruined. She believes the man she hired is an experienced society burglar when in reality he is only posing as one because he is attracted to her.

There is so much about this movie that I absolutely adore...The actors, the chemistry, the style and the humor,'s sheer bliss...

Audrey Hepburn is absolutely delightful as Nicole, the honest, determined heroine and Peter O'Toole is
dashing and charismatic as the reluctant thief. You can tell that they had fun making this picture because their on screen chemistry is so carefree and easy. My favorite scene is at the beginning of the film when Hepburn catches O'Toole with one of her father's forged paintings. She believes he is in the act of stealing it and accidentally shoots him with an old pistol. Their exchange is priceless:

Nicole Bonnet: Your arm is much better.
Simon Dermott: Oh no no, it hurts, it hurts.
Nicole Bonnet: It's the other arm.
Simon Dermott: The infection is spreading.

I recently read Peter O'Toole's first autobiography, Loitering with Intent: The Child, and I will admit, I have a huge crush on that lanky Brit. He was the perfect mix of poet, devil, proper English gentleman, and absolute scoundrel. They just don't make men like that anymore. His dry sense of humor permeates Million and his cavalier approach to wooing Hepburn is enough to make any girl go weak in the knees. I even love that he breaks into Hepburn's house wearing a tuxedo...not many men can make a suit and bow tie look that sophisticated and natural all at the same time!

"I will not be a common man, I will stir the smooth sands of montony. I do not crave security. I wish to hazard my soul to opportunity."- Peter O'Toole's notebook, age 18.
An Honorable mention goes to the late great Eli Wallach as the american playboy Leland Davis. Most people my age will only recognize this amazing talent as Kate Winslet's geriatric friend in The Holiday... but this man was a Hollywood Renaissance front runner! He usually played gritty bad guys and was a surprising choice for the overly self-assured American millionaire... but he is absolutely perfect!

I also have to take a moment to recognize the other star of this movie... The Fashion! White fish net stockings, an epic pair of white sunglasses and that lace black eye mask... I mean... come on! What girl can watch this movie and not drool a puddle... you have to hand it to Hepburn, the girl knew how to wear clothes (even in just a pink nightie and black rain boots... the lady had style!).

Ginvenchy... Ah! Be still my heart!!

The movie has a carefree feeling...a "romp"-esque theme. It's just pure fun. It's hard to explain because so much of the joy can only be found by watching the film. The dialogue is best appreciated when heard. You can't over think it, or look too hard to find gaping holes in the plot, that's like checking the calorie count before eating a Hershey's bar. It totally ruins the experience. Every girl has their 'go-to' "I've had a bad day and need a pick me up" movie... How to Steal a Million is mine!

Simon Dermott: [about the Cellini Venus] Oh! She's fine. She's wrapped up in one of my old shirts, just as snug as could be. I rocked her to sleep in my arms last night. It's the first time I ever did that with a grandmother.