Elizabeth Taylor’s craziest role: ‘The Driver’s Seat’ AKA ‘Identikit’
10.09.2013
08:23 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Andy Warhol
Elizabeth Taylor

image
 
The Driver’s Seat AKA Identikit stars Elizabeth Taylor in one of her single most berserk performances and since no one can bring the crazy like La Liz, that is really saying something. This 1974 Italian film is based on a novella by Muriel Spark about a disturbed woman in a foreign country who seeks a man who will tie her up and stab her to death. There is ridiculous (mostly shouted, even screamed) dialogue like: “I sense a lack of absence” and “I feel homesick for my own loneliness.” How about “You look like Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. Do you want to eat me?” She holds up her purse in an airport security check and exclaims “This may look like a purse but it is actually a bomb!?” The best line is this, however: “When I diet, I diet and when I orgasm, I orgasm! I don’t believe in mixing the two cultures!”

The director, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, seems to have had no control over Taylor whatsoever and it appearss like she is making up her own Dada dialogue on the spot much of the time. Andy Warhol has a cameo in the film playing a British “your Lordship” who has a cryptic encounter with Liz in an airport and they meet again later in the film. His voice is overdubbed with an English voice, which is disconcerting but kind of interesting, too. Why isn’t this cuckoo-pops crazy film better known?

 
image
 
Here is what the AllMovie Guide has to say about The Driver’s Seat:

A beautiful but mysterious woman goes on a journey that has dangerous consequences for her and those around her in this offbeat, arty drama from Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Patroni Griffi. Lise (Elizabeth Taylor) is a woman edging into middle age who is nearing the end of her emotional rope. Needing some time away from her job and responsibilities, Lise flies to Rome, and on the flight she meets Bill (Ian Bannen), an eccentric health food enthusiast who makes it clear he wishes to seduce her, and Pierre (Maxence Mailfort), a curious man who is wary of Lise and goes out of his way to avoid her. Lise informs anyone she speaks with that she’s come to Rome to meet her boyfriend, but it soon becomes clear she has no specific plans nor anyone to see. Lise whiles away the afternoon shopping with Mrs. Fiedke (Mona Washbourne), a chatty older woman from Nova Scotia, and in time crosses paths with Bill again, but it’s not until she meets up with Pierre that her real reason for coming to Italy, as well as the depth of her madness, becomes clear. As Lise wanders through Rome, a team of police detectives is seen investigating a crime that seems to involve her. Also released as Identikit and Psychotic, The Driver’s Seat features a brief appearance from Andy Warhol as a British nobleman.

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to stunned silence and it has been suggested that Liz at one point tried to buy up the rights and all prints of the movie. The filming began one day after she filed for divorce from Richard Burton and she reportedly said to director, Griffi, “It takes one day to die, another to be reborn.”
 
The Driver’s Seat is not out on a proper DVD release, but you can often find bootlegs at a “99 Cents Only” store.

 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Steve McQueen and Charles Manson’s ‘Death List’

neeuqevetstserra.jpg
 
Steve McQueen was one of several Hollywood celebrities placed on a “Death List” allegedly compiled by Charles Manson. The other names were Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones.

On August 9th, 1969, members of Manson’s “Family” carried out the brutal murder of Sharon Tate and 4 of her friends.

McQueen had briefly dated Tate, and had planned to visit the actress the night of her death.

In December 1969, Manson and the killers had been arrested.

When McQueen heard he might be targeted by Manson’s followers, he started carrying a gun. In October 1970, a still cautious McQueen wrote to his lawyer to find out if any “Family” members were still active, and to have his gun license renewed.

Le MANS
A SOLAR PRODUCTION

October 17, 1970

Mr. Edward Rubin
Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp
6380 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90048
U.S.A.

Dear Eddie:

As you know, I have been selected by the Manson Group to be marked for death, along with Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones. In some ways I find it humorous, and in other ways frighteningly tragic. It may be nothing, but I must consider it may be true both for the protection of myself and my family.

At the first possible time, if you could pull some strings and find out unofficially from one of the higher-ups in Police whether, again unofficially, all of the Manson Group has been rounded up and/or do they feel that we may be in some danger.

Secondly, if you would call Palm Springs and have my gun permit renewed, it was only for a year, and I should like to have it renewed for longer as it is the only sense of self-protection for my family and myself, and I certainly think I have good reason.

Please don’t let too much water go under the bridge before this is done, and I’m waiting for an immediate reply.

My best,

(Signed, ‘Steve’)

Steve McQueen

SMcQ/ja

cc: William Maher

 
neeuqrettelevets.jpg
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Steve McQueen’s 1964 Driving License


The True Story of the Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust


 
With thanks to Simon Wells, via Letters of Note
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Elizabeth Taylor’s craziest role: ‘The Driver’s Seat’ AKA ‘Identikit’

image
 
The Driver’s Seat AKA Identikit stars Elizabeth Taylor in one of her single most berserk performances and since no one can bring the crazy like La Liz, that is really saying something. This 1974 Italian film is based on a novella by Muriel Spark about a disturbed woman in a foreign country who seeks a man who will tie her up and stab her to death. There is ridiculous (mostly shouted, even screamed) dialogue like: “I sense a lack of absence” and “I feel homesick for my own loneliness.” How about “You look like Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. Do you want to eat me?” She holds up her purse in an airport security check and exclaims “This may look like a purse but it is actually a bomb!?” The best line is this, however: “When I diet, I diet and when I orgasm, I orgasm! I don’t believe in mixing the two cultures!”

The director, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, seems to have had no control over Taylor whatsoever and it appearss like she is making up her own Dada dialogue on the spot much of the time. Andy Warhol has a cameo in the film playing a British “your Lordship” who has a cryptic encounter with Liz in an airport and they meet again later in the film. His voice is overdubbed with an English voice, which is disconcerting but kind of interesting, too. Why isn’t this cuckoo-pops crazy film better known?

 
image
 
Here is what the AllMovie Guide has to say about The Driver’s Seat:

A beautiful but mysterious woman goes on a journey that has dangerous consequences for her and those around her in this offbeat, arty drama from Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Patroni Griffi. Lise (Elizabeth Taylor) is a woman edging into middle age who is nearing the end of her emotional rope. Needing some time away from her job and responsibilities, Lise flies to Rome, and on the flight she meets Bill (Ian Bannen), an eccentric health food enthusiast who makes it clear he wishes to seduce her, and Pierre (Maxence Mailfort), a curious man who is wary of Lise and goes out of his way to avoid her. Lise informs anyone she speaks with that she’s come to Rome to meet her boyfriend, but it soon becomes clear she has no specific plans nor anyone to see. Lise whiles away the afternoon shopping with Mrs. Fiedke (Mona Washbourne), a chatty older woman from Nova Scotia, and in time crosses paths with Bill again, but it’s not until she meets up with Pierre that her real reason for coming to Italy, as well as the depth of her madness, becomes clear. As Lise wanders through Rome, a team of police detectives is seen investigating a crime that seems to involve her. Also released as Identikit and Psychotic, The Driver’s Seat features a brief appearance from Andy Warhol as a British nobleman.

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to stunned silence and it has been suggested that Liz at one point tried to buy up the rights and all prints of the movie. The filming began one day after she filed for divorce from Richard Burton and she reportedly said to director, Griffi, “It takes one day to die, another to be reborn.”
 
The Driver’s Seat is not out on a proper DVD release, but you can often find bootlegs at a “99 Cents Only” store. Or watch the highlights here:

 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
‘Boom!’ High Camp Masterpiece Starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor

image

 
As all true John Waters fanatics know, the Pope of Trash’s favorite film of all time is Boom! director Joseph Losey’s preposterous adaptation of Tennesse Williams’ 1963 play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. Waters considers Boom! a bit of a litmus test: He’ll show it to friends and if someone doesn’t like it, he won’t talk to them anymore. Seems a bit much, but he’s John Waters and I respect that!

Boom! reveals itself as a cinematic atrocity almost from the film’s very first frames—not that this is a bad thing, mind you.  A clearly drunk—and I do mean clearly drunk, okay?—Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton star, respectively, as Sissy Goforth, the richest woman in the world, and Chris Flanders, a penniless poet who has the uncanny knack for showing up just when some rich lady is about to kick the bucket, ready to relief them of their personal possesions. We know this because Flanders’ nickname is “The Angel of Death.”

When we meet her, La Taylor is seen swanning about her private island wearing insanely elaborate Karl Lagerfeld clothes and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Bugari jewels. She is attended to by fawning servants (including a surly dwarf!) as she dictates her memoirs and asks for constant “injections” for her pain (as if she could feel any due to all the booze and prescription painkillers she was on, but I digress).

Burton arrives on her island and is nearly ripped apart by a pack of her guard dogs. She asks him to stay and offers him a change of clothes, which includes a Samurai sword which he sports—inexplicably—for much of the film. They spend much of their screen time engaged in (obviously) drunken screaming matches. It’s AWESOME!

At one point, Noel Coward (as “The Witch of Capri”) shows up for a dinner party—carried on the shoulders of one of her servants—and gives her the goss on Burton/Flanders, who he thinks is a gigolo and warns her of his “angel of death” reputation. (Worth noting that the role of the “Witch” was originally offered to Katherine Hepburn who was insulted and turned it down).

 
In one bio of director Losey, he admits that all the principals on Boom!—including himself—were shitfaced drunk for the entire filming. Burton later fessed up that there were several films he made in the 60s that he literally had no memory of making. Odds are this is one of them!

Boom! wasn’t even released on VHS until 2000 and it’s never been put out on DVD (except for a recent Region 2 release in the Netherlands). Very occasionally you might see it on TV. Next time it’s on, grab yourself some herbal “entertainment insurance,” invite a few friends over and gorge yourself on the glorious, gorgeous mess that is Boom!

And if you don’t believe me, here’s what John Waters has to say about the film:

 
John Waters Presents “Boom!” (excerpt from “Crackpot”)

Joseph Losey’s Boom! (1968) great article from Cinebeats website

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
A collection of Elizabeth Taylor film trailers 1948-1968
03.24.2011
09:27 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies
R.I.P.

Tags:
Elizabeth Taylor

image
 
Via our pals at Network Awesome comes this collection of 10 trailers for Elizabeth Taylor vehicles from 1948-1968 including the ultra-freaky Boom.
 

 
Another collection of clips after the jump…

Written by Brad Laner | Discussion
Elizabeth Taylor meets David Bowie
03.24.2011
03:00 am

Topics:
History
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
David Bowie
Elizabeth Taylor

image
 
Something sweet from the Dangerous Minds archives. Originally posted on August 4, 2010.

Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie at their first meeting in Beverly Hills, 1975. Photographs by Terry O’Neill. Scanned from the book Legends by Terry O’Neill.

Via Glamour-a-go-go

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Elizabeth Taylor meets David Bowie
08.04.2010
08:02 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
David Bowie
Elizabeth Taylor

image
 

Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie at their first meeting in Beverly Hills, 1975. Photographs by Terry O’Neill. Scanned from the book Legends by Terry O’Neill.

Via Glamour-a-go-go

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Total War: The Impact of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

image
 
Mike Nichols’s film adaptation of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened 44 years ago today during a summer of tumult. Not only were massive protests against the Vietnam War hitting Washington DC, but the last trouble-free marriage sitcom, The Dick van Dyke Show, had just aired its last episode. It was on.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor took on the roles of inadequate associate history prof George and his drunk university-president’s-daughter wife Martha two years into their actual marriage, which itself was one of the most scrutinized in pop culture history. The then-thrice-divorced Taylor won the Best Actress Oscar, and Haskell Wexler’s stark cinematography scored him a statuette as well. Controversy over how much of the play’s profanity to include in the film would compel the MPAA’s Jack Valenti to convert the industry’s old Production Code into the rating system we know today.

Screenwriter Ernest Lehman ingeniously situates George and Martha’s relentless turning-point fight in a well-lit parking lot, giving Taylor the pacing space to sprawl out the argument across the psyche of tortured married couples across America. The pair’s agreement on “total war” seems almost chilling in its self-indulgence in the context of President Johnson’s escalating the horrific bombing of North Vietnam at the time.
 

 

Written by Ron Nachmann | Discussion