Tuesday, April 19, 2011

mommy reads: BUtterfield 8

elizabeth taylor is one of my favorite actresses, and i saw the movie BUtterfield 8 several years ago.  i felt it was a fitting tribute that i was reading BUtterfield 8 when she passed away.  i'm not even sure how i found out it was based on a novel- but i received the book recently and was really excited to read it.  i wish i could say my excitement followed me to the end of the book...  john o'hara based BUtterfield 8 on the death of ny socialite starr faithfull.  this book is definitely a character study, but sometimes it studied the wrong characters.  it started off soooooooo slow- i didn't think i would ever get into it.  there were characters that didn't have anything to do with the story, and it studied them in depth, and then you never heard about them again...  the main character, gloria wandrous is glamorous, yet promiscuous girl who gets involved with a married man, weston liggett.  the book follows their tumultuous relationship.  as i already said, the book was difficult to follow, especially when it was following characters that had nothing to do with the story.  also, BUtterfield 8 was mentioned many times in the movie, but never in the book, other than to explain that it was the name of the telephone exchange.  there isn't too much else to really explain about the book- it's considered an american classic, but it definitely had mixed reviews from what i could find.  

i saw the movie again after reading the book- it's definitely easier to follow than the book!  the movie has a really interesting back story though.  it was the last movie elizabeth taylor (28 at the time) made for mgm in order to finish fulfill her contract and allow her to move on to 20th century fox to make cleopatra.  eddie fisher, who plays gloria's best friend steve- had just left his wife debbie reynolds to marry taylor.  fisher & taylor hated the movie, calling it "butterball 4."  she hated it not only b\c she was being forced to make the movie, but because the american public saw her in the same light as her character gloria, after stealing fisher from reynolds.  although she hated the movie, taylor won the 1960 best actress academy award- which also wasn't without drama.  taylor nearly died while making cleopatra (which nearly bankrupted 20th century fox) and many people feel she received the "pity vote."  while making cleopatra, taylor began a public affair with her costar richard burton, which later led to her divorce from fisher.  

anyway, there's your movie history for the day...  as far as the book goes 2\5 stars.  movie 3\5.  

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