This has suspense, conflict, romance, comedy and drama. Its main fault is that some of the characters and the by-plots are not developed enough. But that is a risk inevitable in any film in which a number of strangers are flung together, each with problems and linked by a single circumstance.

This has suspense, conflict, romance, comedy and drama. Its main fault is that some of the characters and the by-plots are not developed enough. But that is a risk inevitable in any film in which a number of strangers are flung together, each with problems and linked by a single circumstance.

In this case the setting is London Airport and the basic problem is the necessity for at least four of the Very Important Passengers bound for the States to get out of the country pronto. Their plans go haywire when a thick fog grounds all planes overnight.

Terence Rattigan’s screenplay juggles these situations and does not neglect many of the star performers. The script has literate, witty and sometimes touching dialog and Anthony Asquith has directed skillfully, in that though there is the sense of bustle inseparable from any international airport he has retained a sympathetic feeling of intimacy for all his characters.

Principal story, that of the business tycoon who has taken his wife for granted and now looks set to lose her, is played out by Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Louis Jourdan as the lover. Maybe Taylor needs a sabbatical but there is a feeling of ordinariness about her thesping.

Burton, however, gives a top-league performance as the business chief who eventually regains his wife but only after a few hours of taut misery, humiliating and self-enlightenment. Jourdan is also excellent as the would-be lover and he has one scene with Burton which is a little masterpiece of dual virtuosity.

1963: Best Supp. Actress (Margaret Rutherford)

The V.I.P.s

UK

Production

M-G-M. Director Anthony Asquith; Producer Anatole de Grunwald; Screenplay Terence Rattigan; Camera Jack Hildyard; Editor Frank Clarke; Music Miklos Rozsa

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Extract of a review from 1963. Running time: 119 MIN.

With

Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton Louis Jourdan Margaret Rutherford Maggie Smith Rod Taylor
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more