×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Butterfield 8

Alterations made on John O'Hara's 1935 novel by the scenarists (among other things, they have updated it from the Prohibition era, spectacularized the ending and refined some of the dialog) have given Butterfield 8 the form and pace it needs, but the story itself remains a weak one, the behavior and motivations of its characters no more tangible than in the original work.

With:
Elizabeth Taylor Laurence Harvey Eddie Fisher Dina Merrill Mildred Dunnock Betty Field

Alterations made on John O’Hara’s 1935 novel by the scenarists (among other things, they have updated it from the Prohibition era, spectacularized the ending and refined some of the dialog) have given Butterfield 8 the form and pace it needs, but the story itself remains a weak one, the behavior and motivations of its characters no more tangible than in the original work.

Under director Daniel Mann’s guidance it is an extremely sexy and intimate film, but the intimacy is only skin deep, the sex only a dominating behavior pattern.

It is the tragic tale of a young woman (Elizabeth Taylor) tormented by the contradictory impulses of flesh and conscience.

Victim of traumatic childhood experiences, a fatherless youth, a mother’s refusal to face facts and, most of all, her own moral irresponsibility, she drifts from one illicit affair to another until passion suddenly blossoms into love on a six-day sex spree with Laurence Harvey, who’s got the sort of ‘problems’ (loving, devoted wife, oodles of money via marriage, soft, respectable job) non-neurotic men might envy.

The picture’s major asset is Taylor. It is a torrid, stinging portrayal with one or two brilliantly executed passages within. Harvey seems ill-at-ease and has a tendency to exaggerate facial reactions. Eddie Fisher, as Taylor’s long-time friend and father image, cannot unbend and get any warmth into the role. Dina Merrill’s portrayal of the society wife is without animation or depth. But there is better work from Mildred Dunnock as Taylor’s mother and Susan Oliver as Fisher’s impatient girl friend.

1960: Best Actress (Elizabeth Taylor).

Nomination: Best Color Cinematography

Butterfield 8

Production: M-G-M/Afton-Linebrook. Director Daniel Mann; Producer Pandro S. Berman; Screenplay Charles Schnee, John Michael Hayes; Camera Joseph Ruttenberg, Charles Harten; Editor Ralph E. Winters; Music Bronislau Kaper; Art Director George W. Davis, Urie McCleary

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1960. Running time: 109 MIN.

With: Elizabeth Taylor Laurence Harvey Eddie Fisher Dina Merrill Mildred Dunnock Betty Field

More Film

  • Glass Movie

    Box Office: 'Glass' Shines Overseas With $48.5 Million Weekend

    After autobots and aquatic kings have dominated foreign markets over the past few weeks, a different kind of hero has risen to the top of box office charts. M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is the new champ overseas, pulling in $48.5 million from international territories. The supernatural thriller, a sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split,” debuted [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    'Roma' and 'The Favourite' Lead London Critics' Circle Winners

    After ruling the U.S. critics’ award circuit, “Roma” continued its dominance on the other side of the pond, as the London Film Critics’ Circle announced its winners tonight. A week after landing seven BAFTA nominations, Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexico City memory piece landed film of the year and director of the year honors from the group [...]

  • M. Night Shyamalan Should Stop Writing

    The Big Twist M. Night Shyamalan Needs: He Should Stop Writing His Own Scripts (Column)

    Quick, name the greatest film by each of the following directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, David Lean, Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Kathryn Bigelow, Jonathan Demme. Answers will vary (mine would be: “Psycho,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Nashville,” “Chinatown,” “The Hurt Locker,” “The Silence of the Lambs”), but whatever your taste, odds are that [...]

  • Andy Vajna Dead: 'Rambo' Producer and

    Andy Vajna, 'Rambo' Producer, Dies at 74

    Andy Vajna, executive producer of several “Rambo” films as well as “Total Recall” and several “Terminator” movies, died Sunday in Budapest after a long illness. He was 74. The Hungarian National Film Fund confirmed his death, calling him a “dominant figure in the Hungarian and international film industry” who was responsible for the development of [...]

  • Glass trailer

    Box Office: 'Glass' Dominates MLK Weekend With $47 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” topped box office charts during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, collecting $40 million over the weekend for a four-day sum of $47 million. If estimates hold, “Glass” will come in behind “American Sniper” ($107 million) and “Ride Along” ($48 million) as the third-best showing for both January and MLK holiday [...]

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

  • 'St. Bernard Syndicate' Review: A Quietly

    Film Review: 'St. Bernard Syndicate'

    John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan may have received major award nominations this season for their fine work in “Stan & Ollie,” but there’s arguably a superior Laurel & Hardy tribute act to be found in the droll Danish comedy “St. Bernard Syndicate.” As a pair of bumbling losers who turn an already dubious business [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content