On Elizabeth Taylor: An Opinionated Guide

Oxford Univ. May 2024. 264p. ISBN 9780197664117. $29.99. BIOG
Elizabeth Taylor (1932–2011) is often called the last great movie star from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Her career spanned more than 50 years, starting with her first film appearance at 10 in 1942’s There’s One Born Every Minute and concluding with the 2001 TV movie These Old Broads. She was a formidable actress with outstanding work in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf??, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly, Last Summer, Giant, A Place in the Sun, and more. Her career was often overshadowed by her very public private life, scandals, illnesses, and fondness for perfume and jewelry. But many also remember how much she did as an AIDS activist. Film historian Kennedy (Roadshow!: The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s) focuses strictly on Taylor’s work, acting style, and intuitive understanding of the camera and her audience. He gives an astute chronological analysis of her 67 films, each with a synopsis, production history, reception by audiences and critics, and box office performance.
VERDICT An entertaining, informative read that comprehensively examines the work of one of the most memorable film stars who had undeniable talent and appeal.
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