Normally, I don’t care for movies with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. So I wasn’t surprised to find that The V.I.P.s, their 1963 film under Anthony Asquith’s direction, was awful. And I mean awful.
Soapy, too. In a bad way, not in an I, Claudius fun way. This was soap without a lot of bubbles. Deadly dull, unperfumed, lather-free soap.
And trashy. The tale of a group of high-end passengers who get stuck in a London airport due to fog, The V.I.P.s went from one dreary relationship to another, from Burton and Taylor’s married-couple-on-the-outs to Rod Taylor’s nice-guy businessman whose secretary, played by Maggie Smith, has fallen in love with him. I didn’t find any of these situations credible, and they just got more tedious as the film rolled along. Plus, the cinematography didn’t help, either. Strange compositions seemed to include lamps or some kind of bizarre light fixture in many shots, leading them to be jarring. And the score by the normally reliable Miklós Rózsa was awfully syrupy. Not good, Miklós. Not good.
So what are the takeaways from this? Well, I still don’t like Burton-Taylor movies. I also don’t like bad movies. And I love I, Claudius.
If you can find meaning in that, you’re a better man (or woman) than I.