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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

THE V.I.P.S (1963)


Embalmed multistory all-star pic is a true guilty pleasure as long as we stay in the ultra-modern airport (it’s like going back to the NYC ‘64 World’s Fair, dig those wall murals!!), but the already logy pace of Anthony Asquith’s smooth megging hits Full-Stop during a hotel overnight delay. Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton were still the hot duo at the time, but her only passable scene comes when she gets the giggles with her lover, Louis Jourdan. Orson Welles has fun impersonating the late Alex Korda and Margaret Rutherford has fun impersonating the lively Margaret Rutherford. But it's only Maggie Smith (still in her 20s) who does anything one might call acting. Watch her turn an impossible scene with Burton into something believbly human, even touching. The general idea, of course, was to make a sort of GRAND HOTEL/'32 in an airport, but how tough that old chestnut looks in comparison to the mush playwright Terrence Rattigan was asked (ordered?) to churn out here.

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