Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton: The Film Collection


The V.I.P.s (1963)        The Sandpiper (1965)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)         The Comedians (1967)


Titles

 


 

The V.I.P.s
Stars Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Louis Jourdan, Elsa Martinelli, Margaret Rutherford
Directors: Anthony Asquith
Theatrical Release Date: September 19, 1963
Synopsis - A character study set at London Airport, where a group of wealthy and beautiful travellers are stranded by poor visibility. We learn of their various problems and predicaments and why they simply must get in the air right now. There are some good performances: Rutherford won an Oscar for her turn as a Duchess reluctant to leave home, and Smith is equally impressive as a devoted secretary who sets out to get millionaire Burton to write a cheque to save her beleaguered boss (Taylor). Rattigan's script is pretty shallow, however, so it's pretty rather than insightful.

 Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE
 

The Sandpiper
Stars Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Eva Marie Saint, Charles Bronson, Robert Webber
Directors: Vincente Minnelli
Theatrical Release Date: June 23, 1965
Synopsis - Young Danny Reynolds and his mother Laura (Elizabeth Taylor) live an idyllic life near California's Big Sur. Laura teaches Danny at home. After Danny shoots a deer, authorities take the boy away to live and study in a parochial orphanage/school. The unwed mother is distraught. At first, the school administrator, Episcopalian Priest Dr. Hewitt (Richard Burton), finds the free-spirited Laura to be morally bereft and without redeeming value. Eventually, Laura and Dr. Hewitt fall in love and begin an illicit affair.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Stars Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis, Agnes Flanagan
Directors: Mike Nichols
Theatrical Release Date: June 22, 1966
Synopsis - Mike Nichols' first directorial effort represents a milestone in psychological realism and "foul" language in American cinema. George and Martha, as played superbly and without vanity by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, are as far from the bourgeois 1950s perfect married couple as you can get, alternatively badgering, berating, abusing and loving each other, both alone and accompanied by the naive young married couple that have come over for a nightcap (portrayed brilliantly by George Segal and Sandy Dennis). The fun and games in which George and Martha involve Nick and Honey are a lacerating look at the older couple's existence, where the emotional brutalizing fill an unspeakable void at their center, and a troubling preview of what the younger couple's life could become. Edward Albee's dramatic vision combines the banal, the vulgar and the poetic, and Ernest Lehman's adapted screenplay is amazingly faithful to the structure of Albee's play. The acting is uniformly excellent, and Taylor and Burton were never better together. A harrowing movie experience, but very worthwhile and finally unforgettable.

The Comedians
Stars Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov, Paul Ford
Directors: Peter Glenville
Theatrical Release Date: October 31, 1967
Synopsis - Set in the Haiti of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, The Comedians tells the story of a sardonic white hotel owner and his encroaching fatalism as he watches Haiti sink into barbarism. Complications include a friendship with a rebel leader, politically "charged" hotel guests, an affair with the wife of a European ambassador, and the manipulations of a conniving British arms dealer.

Posters

Theatrical Releases: Various from 1963 - 1967

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
Time: Over 8 hours of feature films (see individual times in bitrate graphs)
Bitrate: The V.I.P.s
Bitrate: The Sandpiper
Bitrate: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?
Bitrate: The Comedians
Audio English (original mono), French mono DUBs on The V.I.P.s and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Sandpiper
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None NOTE: Korean and Portuguese added for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratios - all 2.35:1 except Who's Afraid... at 1.85:1 

Edition Details:

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2-disc)
Commentary by directors Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh
Commentary by cinematographer Haskell Wexler
Vintage biographical profile: Elizabeth Taylor: An Intimate Portrait
New featurettes: A Daring Work of Raw Excellence, Too Shocking for Its Time
1966 Mike Nichols interview
Sandy Dennis screen test
Taylor/Burton movie trailer gallery
French mono track
1.85, black and white, 131m
The V.I.P.s
French mono track
2.35, color, 119m
The Sandpiper
Vintage featurettes: The Big Sur, A Statue for the Sandpiper
French mono track
2.35, color, 117m
The Comedians
Vintage featurette: The Comedians in Africa
2.35, black and white, 152m


DVD Release Date: December 5th, 2006

4 slim transparent keep cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: various

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: Although the 4 main features of this boxset are housed in individual slim transparent keep cases (see images below) only Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2-disc SE) is sold separately at this time (HERE) - the rest can only be obtained in Warner's Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton Film Collection Boxset. They have been transferred progressively, 16X9 enhanced in the NTSC standard, coded for Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Image: Aside from The V.I.P.'s - all transfers look excellent. The V.I.P.'s shows some dirt and is a bit saturated - black levels also appear to be a notch boosted. It is noticeably weaker than the rest. The Sandpiper looks the sharpest with vibrant colors and tight lines - a superb transfer. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is also very strong with fabulous contrast and dusted grey tones. The Comedians appears quite acceptable as well but possibly a notch less sharp. Still no real complaints as overall the video quality is far better than I anticipated. These DVDs looked great on my system!  

Audio - again very strong. Original (un-boosted) tracks are offered and I didn't notice any instances of pops, hiss or dropouts. There are French mono DUBs available on all but The Comedians. The package offers excellent subtitles in English, French or Spanish for all four feature films (see font/position sample below for The Sandpiper). NOTE: Korean and Portuguese are added for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Extras - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2-disc) is stacked with 2 commentaries - the 1st with directors Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh, the second is the same one from the original release by cinematographer Haskell Wexler. I remember enjoying Wexler's the first time I heard it although it was a while back and I appreciated Nichols comments on the new one, I wasn't partial to Soderbergh's input as he wavered sometimes acting as reviewer - often giving no valuable input. On top of that Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has a 2nd disc with some good material - a vintage biographical profile: Elizabeth Taylor: An Intimate Portrait (seen this before somewhere - its quite interesting in a superficial way), Featurettes - A Daring Work of Raw Excellence, Too Shocking for Its Time, a 1966 Mike Nichols interview, a Sandy Dennis screen test and more.
The V.I.P.s has no digital supplements.
The Sandpiper offers two old featurettes: The Big Sur and A Statue for the Sandpiper
The Comedians also has a vintage featurette entitled The Comedians in Africa but I found this a bit of a bore. Others may disagree.

The aura of Taylor and Burton's love affair(s) constantly spilled off the screen and into the gossiping headlines - it was hard not to know about their trials and tribulations. It was always reinforcing their star magnetism, but behind that we have true talent and their choices of films often pushed the artistic envelope of the era. Grandiose in a kind of royalty way, they were a couple we loved.

I really enjoyed these films - actually re-watching as I had seen them all many years ago (except The V.I.P.s - which if I did I have no recollection of). I think the boxset is priced accordingly and has good value - just buying Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? costs over half of the entire collection, which we do recommend. Great job Warner!     

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus


Extras: The Sandpiper -  Vintage featurettes: The Big Sur, A Statue for the Sandpiper
The Comedians - Vintage featurette: The Comedians in Africa
.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Menus - Disc 2


 

Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

The V.I.P.s

Stars Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Louis Jourdan, Elsa Martinelli, Margaret Rutherford
 
Directors: Anthony Asquith
 

 


Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

The Sandpiper


Stars Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Eva Marie Saint, Charles Bronson, Robert Webber


Directors: Vincente Minnelli

 

 

 


Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


Stars Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis, Agnes Flanagan


Directors: Mike Nichols

 

 


Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

The Comedians


Stars Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov, Paul Ford


Directors: Peter Glenville

 


 

 
DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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