Butterfield 8

Liz Taylor is fabulous, Lawrence Harvey is…well kind of weird, as always, and the movie doesn’t quite make it.  Speaking of his lover, killed in a Thruway crash as she sped away from him, and addressing his WASP-queen wife, a good woman after all, he says, “On the surface, she was all sex, and devil may care, but underneath, she was always struggling towards respectability…”

Respectability? Ye gads! Something went wrong in the writing room somewhere.


9 Responses to Butterfield 8

  1. Don’t know if you’ve ever seen Taylor in The Driver’s Seat based on a novel by Muriel Spark. I think this film gives Taylor the most bizarre role of her career. She plays this nutty spinster who goes off to Rome looking for her “type.”

    I know we share some tastes in film, so check it out if it sounds interesting. It’s also known as IDENTIKIT. BTW, it’s a definite B film.

    • lichanos says:

      Thanks – I’ll look for it.

      I didn’t blog about it, but Quai des Orfèvres was good. It was described to me as a noir – I don’t quite get that, since it has a happy ending and a female lead with a heart of gold, sort of like Gilda – but it was good, and beautiful to look at!

  2. The term ‘noir’ is stretched in all sorts of ways–I think as a selling point for noirheads. Have you seen 36 Quai des Orfevres (a newer bad-cop-good cop film)?

    But back to The Driver’s Seat…it’s such an odd film, I did wonder what Liz Taylor was thinking when she signed up for it, but then again I could see her taking the role for a change of pace. In the film, she’s a nutter, and in one scene she goes into a shop and the salesgirl tries to sell her a dress for travel promoting it as “stain-free.” Liz goes berserk at the fact that it’s implied she’s someone who’d get stains. The film offers a whole new look at Taylor (as I think Butterfield 8 does), and it shows she is so much more than a gorgeous face.

    I really like Butterfield 8 BTW. One of my favourite Taylot films. I haven’t tried the book–not sure how it’s aged.

    • lichanos says:

      …she is so much more than a gorgeous face.
      Oh, absolutely! She’s a real actress, that’s for sure.

      …Liz goes berserk at the fact that it’s implied she’s someone who’d get stains.
      Don’t think this got any play during the Lewinsky debacle, but it would have been good material!

  3. That’s a good point!

    Andy Warhol BTW has a cameo in The Driver’s Seat. It’s such an odd film. It feels cheap and yet it’s set in Italy and has this Warhol Cameo. I found my copy on Amazon, and it was quite cheap at the time. One of those bargain bin scenarios.

  4. lichanos says:

    Got it for $3.80 incl. shipping on ebay!

  5. Guy Savage says:

    WOOO HOOO! I await your opinion.

  6. Ducky's here says:

    Terrible film. You probably should have written about Quai des Orfèvres, it’s difficult to pigeonhole Clouzot.

    “Wages of Fear” does manage to make great cinema out of simply backing up a truck.

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