×

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The naked power and oblique tenderness of Edward Albee's incisive, inhuman drama have been transformed from legit into a brilliant motion picture. Keen adaptation and handsome production by Ernest Lehman, outstanding direction by Mike Nichols in his feature debut, and four topflight performances score an artistic bullseye.

With:
Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton George Segal Sandy Dennis

The naked power and oblique tenderness of Edward Albee’s incisive, inhuman drama have been transformed from legit into a brilliant motion picture. Keen adaptation and handsome production by Ernest Lehman, outstanding direction by Mike Nichols in his feature debut, and four topflight performances score an artistic bullseye.

Elizabeth Taylor earns every penny of her reported $1 million plus. Her chacterization is at once sensual, spiteful, cynical, pitiable, loathsome, lustful and tender.

Richard Burton delivers a smash portrayal. He evokes sympathy during the public degradations to which his wife subjects him, and his outrage, as well as his deliberate vengeance, are totally believable.

Provoking the exercise in exorcism is the late-night visit of Dennis and Segal. Latter is the all-American boy type who, in the course of one night, is seduced by his hostess, exposed by his host, but enlightened as to more mature aspects of love and marriage. Segal is able to evoke sympathy, then hatred, then pity, in a first-rate performance.

Dennis makes an impressive screen debut as the young bride, her delivery rounded with the intended subtlety of a not-so-Dumb Dora.

1966: Best Actress (Elizabeth Taylor), Supp. Actress (Sandy Dennis), B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction, B&W Costume Design (Irene Sharaff).

Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Richard Burton), Supp. Actor (George Segal), Screenplay Adaptation, Editing, Original Music Score, Sound

Popular on Variety

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Production: Warner. Director Mike Nichols; Producer Ernest Lehman; Screenplay Ernest Lehman; Camera Haskell Wexler; Editor Sam O'Steen; Music Alex North; Art Director Richard Sylbert

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1966. Running time: 131 MIN.

With: Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton George Segal Sandy Dennis

More Film

  • Nouras-Dream

    ‘Noura’s Dream’ Director Hinde Boujemaa Owes It All To The Arab Spring

    SAN SEBASTIAN —  Hinde Boujemaa might have started her filmmaking career later than others, but she hasn’t lost any time in the subsequent years. The Tunisian director’s 2012 documentary “It Was Better Tomorrow” premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and she now returns with her feature-length fiction debut, “Noura’s Dream,” which follows a working-class woman [...]

  • Nudo-Mixteco

    Ángeles Cruz’s ‘Nudo Mixteco’ Impresses at San Sebastian Works in Progress

    SAN SEBASTIAN —   Ángeles Cruz, one of Mexico’s highest-profile indigenous cineasts, screened for the first time a nearly-finished version of her feature debut “Nudo Mixteco” at the San Sebastian Films in Progress sidebar. Having won two Mexican Academy Ariel Awards for her first two shorts, “Nudo Mixteco” arrived in Spain buzzing. It deftly intertwines [...]

  • NUESTRAS-MADRES-OUR-MOTHERS

    Outsider Pictures Nabs U.S. Rights to 'Our Mothers,' Belgium's Oscar Submission (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN —    Paul Hudson’s Outsider Pictures has picked-up U.S. distribution rights to César Díaz’s “Nuestras madres” (“Our Mothers”), Belgium’s submission for the international feature film Academy Award. Sold by Pyramide International, “Our Mothers” world premiered at Cannes’ Critics Week, winning the Golden Camera for best first film at the Cannes Festival. Outsider Pictures [...]

  • El-Peso

    Basque Industry Backs Female Filmmakers with Noka Mentoring Program

    SAN SEBASTIAN — The Noka Mentoring program, a local initiative to support up-and-coming Basque female filmmakers, kicked off on Monday morning at this year’s 67th San Sebastian Film Festival. The program was co-developed by the Basque Government’s Department of Culture and Language Policy and Zineuskadi, a non-profit org set up by the department and the two [...]

  • INLAND

    Basque Production: New, Upcoming Titles

    ‘+90dB’ A Basque rock band travels the globe playing to diehard fans from Japan, the U.S., Germany and France. Marina Lameiro’s second film, produced by Arena Comunicación and Txalap.art. ‘918 NIGHTS’ Arantza Santesteban writes and directs her first feature documentary in which she explores the experience of being incarcerated for what seemed to be 918 [...]

  • THE-PLATFORM

    Basque Cinema Broadens Industrial Base

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Basque cinema is attacking the future with higher industrial and creative expectations than ever, playing off two motors: Co-production with other parts of Spain, international equity partnerships. Two game-changers in the Basque film landscape, “Handia,” winner of 10 Spanish Academy Goya Awards in 2018, and “Loreak,” Spain’s 2016 Oscar submission, have contributed [...]

  • The Taste Of Pho

    'The Taste Of Pho' Bows Trailer Ahead Of San Sebastian World Premiere (EXCLUSIVE)

    Poland’s New Europe Film Sales is handling worldwide sales rights to Mariko Bobrik’s feature debut “The Taste of Pho.” The food drama’s trailer is launching exclusively in Variety ahead of its world premiere at the San Sebastian Film Festival’s Culinary Cinema sidebar. Described as a story about love, misunderstanding and food, “The Taste of Pho” follows Long, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content