Director: Vintenite Minnelli
Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Eva Marie Saint, Charles Bronson, Robert Webber
This film was designed to take advantage of public curiosity about the recent marriage of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who were kind of the Bragelina of the 1960's. Their star power were enough to make this picture a hit at the box office. Here, Taylor plays a free-spirited beatnik artist and single mother. She lives on the beach in a glamorous "shack" and makes a living as an artist while raising her son. Very touching. Her son, played by Morgan Mason, gets into trouble and winds up being sent to a religious boarding school. The school is run by the Reverend Richard Burton, along with his pretty and supportive but staid wife, Eva Marie Saint. Well, Burton is going through a mid-life crisis and it comes to fruition when he first meets Taylor and is taken by her heavy make-up and "look at my breasts" wardrobes. So he visits her home to help her keep tabs on her son's progress at school and meets some of her beatnik friends, including Charles Bronson, absurdly cast as a hippie sculptor. What happens then? Well, after taking forever to set up the story, Taylor and Burton fall in love and have an affair, to the surprise of no one. In the process, we are treated to the majestic Big Sur beaches and beautiful music, including the Oscar-winning theme song "The Shadow of Your Smile." In fact, the music and seascapes are more interesting than the story and characters, who just talk everything to death while the story drags on in predictable fashion. This would have been a better coffee table book than motion picture. My recommendation? Watch the opening credits and closing credits, which are by far the best parts of the movie.