Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception... for a better now

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Long Live Liz

Can it be true? Has the living legend Elizabeth Taylor finally merged back into the godhead from which she came? I guess it is. I guess we'll be seeing a lot of her image in the next few days, but we don't really need to be reminded how awesome she was. She never left her throne on Hollywood's Mount Olympus, and its doubtful she ever will. Burton's probably ecstatic right now, showing her all around the spacious grounds of her new mansion on the hill.

Look at the above picture - have you ever seen a woman's eyes so aware of her sexiness yet not at all like a kitten's? How is she able to project so much knowing intellect alongside so much hotness and not have 'conflict of interest'? Her brain wattage doesn't spook us away like it did with Marilyn Monroe, say, who maybe lacked Taylor's grounding sanity and unrelenting self confidence without being egotistical, nor condescending to the man who drools at her from behind time and space. She accepts not only her own sexuality as a given, but ours. She was the most generous, in that and many other senses, of icons. Her beneficence has left an indelible mark on a grateful planet.

Acidemic is laden with past tributes to her grace, and here's a few:

Liz Taylor--a titanic, stunningly alive character with worldwide impact herself, seems to have been a kind of protean cine-muse to Williams, and one much more magnetic than Magnani, and much more opinionated and loud about it than most of the screen goddesses in her league. Totally unafraid to get in there and shake it in all senses of the word, from root to crown chakra (with a long pause at the hips), Liz's characters clash with patriarchy and then withdraw to fight again, like Sung Tzu says to do in ART OF WAR! Take GIANT, for example, where she maneuvers around the end zones at her newfound homeland Texas' narrow-minded patriarchal ways, and everyone of the old guard just has to put up with it. None of their usual patronizing crap works, even when she's way out of line they can't rope her in. She lets them win a hand or two, but never stops wearing them down, until they surrender like aggressive dogs to Cesar Milan in the Dog Whisperer. Like said dogs, these Texans realize they love her for her ability to be assertive without being aggressive, and she becomes the social mother conscience for all of Rich Oil Texas. She creates a new respect and admiration for the voice of dissent. It's okay to walk away having lost a fight with Liz Taylor. She'll let you win the next one.

Piper doesn't even have to be good when the chemistry between this pair is in full flow the way it wasn't in The VIPs and The Comedians. There's a great scene where Dick and Liz are gazing into each other's eyes, emoting and talking, and the wounded sandpiper that Liz saved earlier in the film comes flying in for a landing... right atop her head! She doesn't even flinch; she just keeps staring into Dick's eyes, and for his part, even with that sandpiper there he doesn't freak out, just stays in the scene, fixed on her gaze like a hypnotist. Then after they kiss, she reaches up and cups the bird in her hand without even looking at it, and then lets it loose, saying, "Fly away, baby," in that husky afterthought half-motherly/half-loverly, tender but not coddling, queenly-but not imperious style of hers. 
Was this something they shot twenty takes of, just to get that damned bird to land on her head, or was it just a lucky accident that these two pro thespians seized on? I spent the whole rest of the film just admiring the perfect nonchalant stillness with which these two lovers acted out their scene with this bird standing in Liz's wild hair. Then, when she later chases her old sugar daddy-cum-rapist out of the house with a hatchet, my heart was sealed... Here's one chick I wouldn't worry about even in the hairiest of haunted houses. 

The Case of the Disappearing Accent: THE COMEDIANS
Liz and Dick: Acidemic's Coolest Couples #2
Hotter Little Sister Effect: GIANT

1 comment:

  1. She was incredible. I'm going to have to run a bit of a marathon of her movies tonight I think.


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