The Sandpiper is the story of a passing affair between an unwed nonconformist and a married Episcopalian minister who is headmaster of a private boys school attended by femme’s nine-year-old son. Original by Martin Ransohoff, who produced, is trite and often ponderous in its philosophizing by the two principals, and picture is further burdened by lack of any fresh approach. [Story adaptation by Irene and Louis Kamp.]
Under Vincente Minnelli’s leisurely but dramatic direction, the screenplay opens on Elizabeth Taylor as a budding artist whose young son is taken away from her after lad’s brush with the law and sent to the school run by Richard Burton. Latter becomes interested in her although ostensibly happily wed to Eva Marie Saint, mother of his twin teenage sons.
Burton probably comes off best with a more restrained performance, although Taylor plays well enough a role without any great acting demands.
Saint gets the most out of a comparatively brief appearance, most of her drama confined to her reaction upon Burton’s confession. Morgan Mason, son of Pamela and James Mason, makes a nice impression as Taylor’s son.
1965: Best Song (‘The Shadow of Your Smile’)