Since I was a wee girl, I can remember my mother telling me, "there will never be another woman more beautiful than Elizabeth Taylor." To this day, I think she's right. If you have ever seen "A Place in the Sun," then you know what I'm talking about. In this film, she was paired with a man who was also described as beautiful, Montgomery Clift. Never in the history of film has there been a more hypnotic couple than Taylor and Clift. George Stevens directed this glorious melodrama about a boy with a not so bright future who falls head over heels in love with a girl who has it all. "A Place in the Sun" is known for its cinematography and the way that the camera zooms in on the faces of Taylor and Clift with a soft, almost out of focus qualtiy that frames their faces as they stare at one another, as if they are going to die from passion right before our eyes. I don't think I've ever seen a film that makes two people look any more in love. As the story unfolds, you can sense that it will all end tragically.
The two stars also saw their share of heartache off the screen. We all know about Taylor's marriages, her lost loves and her illnesses. We also have been witness to her passion for life (and jewelry) and her love for Montgomery Clift, even though it was platonic. It is said that Clift, although gay, often remarked that Taylor was the only woman he ever loved...whether that was romantic or not, his love for her shows on his face in every scene in the film. You can't "act" that look in his eyes, nor hers. When she tells him "Tell Mama...Tell Mama All"...well, enough said.
It was later that, while leaving Taylor's Los Angeles home, on a weaving road in Beverly Hills, Clift lost control of his car and suffered terrible injuries, disfiguring his beautiful face. Taylor rushed to his aid and even went so far as to shove her hand down his throat to remove two teeth that he was choking on. He was permanently disfigured, as you can see so sadly in their other film together, "Raintree County." Moviegoers rushed to the cinema to see the film, as if it were a train wreck, as it clearly showed which scenes were filmed before and after the accident. He lost his signature good looks and, for the most part, his mind, suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction and depression for the rest of his days. It is said that Taylor stayed by his side through it all. Maybe they were just friends...maybe they were more. Whatever they were, they were never more stunning than in "A Place in the Sun." If you have never seen it, I encourage you to do so. It's a wonderful film...a true classic. The connection between Taylor and Clift makes it unforgettable.
|The billards room scene, where the two first meet|
|Star crossed lovers extraordinaire|
|Stills of the extreme close ups for which the film became famous|
|Tell Mama - Tell Mama All|
|What to do - what to do|
|Publicity still from the film|
|The eyes - not just hers|