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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)


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#1 heytherelaur

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 09:42 PM

I totally agree. This movie is so amazing. I think is one of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's best film to date. There is such beautiful essence of this movie through the brutal relationship between their characters. I definitely love the outside shots of this movie. It definitely gives it a realness and depth. 



#2 Chris Pierce

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 09:34 PM

I love this movie!!! Burton and Taylor blew the doors off that film!! The banter between them is incredible....and contrary to belief by many,they really were acting. My fav is Taylor sitting on the couch while in mid-conversation with Nick telling husband George (who is mixing drink #1,243,567) to ..."Shut up!...." without even breaking stride!! Hilarious...yet so real. Stick that in your hat New York Actors Studio snobs....yeah,Hollywood studios did train their people well.
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#3 TheGayDivorcee

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 06:13 AM

Yes, but I think she said that to help Nick save face and to throw it in George's face that they did the deed when in reality they didnt go "all the way".....

Thanks, Hibi.  Gosh, now I'm wondering what else I missed!


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#4 TheGayDivorcee

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 06:11 AM

Martha lied about Nick being able to perform to upset George.

Nick was thanking Martha for lying to help him save face. 

When Martha and Nick are alone (before George enters), it's evident that Nick was a "flop." His excuse to Martha for his impotency was that he'd been drinking for hours. 

Before George entered, Martha made Nick the "houseboy" because he'd failed to "hump the hostess." 

Ah, that escaped me.  So Nick is a houseboy.   :)  Thanks, Holden.


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#5 speedracer5

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 09:06 PM

There's a line (I think spoken by George): "You're either a st*d or a houseboy."

Martha lies to George saying that Nick is not a houseboy (meaning he's a st*d). The audience knows she's lying from Nick and Martha's earlier private conversation about Nick's failure to "rise to the occasion." 

Ah okay.  That makes sense.  Things between Nick and Martha seemed to be getting pretty hot and heavy when they were dancing in the dive bar.  I just figured things had gotten "hotter and heavier."  I wonder if both Nick and Martha had wanted sleep together and were disappointed by Nick's inability to "get it up" or whether or not this whole incident was a blessing in disguise.  Neither party seemed all that happy in their respective relationships.  Although, in Martha and George's case, they might be just as passionate lovers as they are passionate fighters.


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#6 HoldenIsHere

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 02:41 PM

I thought he was being called the houseboy because he had humped the hostess!  This is a very complicated movie.  I have a feeling that this may be one of those films where you always notice/learn something new with each successive viewing.

 

There's a line (I think spoken by George): "You're either a st*d or a houseboy."

Martha lies to George saying that Nick is not a houseboy (meaning he's a st*d). The audience knows she's lying from Nick and Martha's earlier private conversation about Nick's failure to "rise to the occasion." 



#7 Hibi

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 11:44 AM

Martha finally admitted he could do the deed and Nick thanked her for saying so.  (I've watched this movie too many times!)

 

 

Yes, but I think she said that to help Nick save face and to throw it in George's face that they did the deed when in reality they didnt go "all the way".....



#8 Hibi

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 11:42 AM

I thought he was being called the houseboy because he had humped the hostess!  This is a very complicated movie.  I have a feeling that this may be one of those films where you always notice/learn something new with each successive viewing.

 

That part is a little confusing. Yes, since this piece is dialogue driven, its easy to miss things or meanings with just one viewing.



#9 speedracer5

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 11:50 PM

I thought he was being called the houseboy because he had humped the hostess!  This is a very complicated movie.  I have a feeling that this may be one of those films where you always notice/learn something new with each successive viewing.


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#10 HoldenIsHere

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 11:04 PM

Martha finally admitted he could do the deed and Nick thanked her for saying so.  (I've watched this movie too many times!)

 

Martha lied about Nick being able to perform to upset George.

Nick was thanking Martha for lying to help him save face. 

When Martha and Nick are alone (before George enters), it's evident that Nick was a "flop." His excuse to Martha for his impotency was that he'd been drinking for hours. 

Before George entered, Martha made Nick the "houseboy" because he'd failed to "hump the hostess." 



#11 TheGayDivorcee

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 07:51 PM

Well, sorta. Nick couldnt "do the deed" in the end. Too much alcohol..........

Martha finally admitted he could do the deed and Nick thanked her for saying so.  (I've watched this movie too many times!)


Bring the boy an eggnog.  Two eggs.


#12 TheGayDivorcee

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 07:45 PM

You're welcome. There's line by "Honey" (played by Sandy Dennis in the movie) to Martha after she realizes the truth about the "son": "You couldn't have children?"

I always thought it was touching that George responds "We couldn't" (or something to that affect).

Yes, that "we" is revealing, how they both were deeply affected by the inability to have children.  


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#13 Hibi

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 11:13 AM

Knowing that George said "We couldn't" as a means to support Martha kind of adds something to my perception of their relationship.  I kind of figured they were both bad drunks and unhappy in marriage.  Now, I get more of the impression that they're the type who passionately love and hate each other.  The only person they want to fight with is the other person.  Alcohol just adds another level to the "passion."  Their relationship seems like how I would imagine the real Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton relationship to be.  If I were part of the younger couple, I think I would have figured out a way to leave before they finally do at the end.  What an uncomfortable, but oddly fascinating evening it would be.  Maybe the curiosity is what kept them hooked.

 

At the end, I assume that Martha and George Segal's character hooked up right? That's what I inferred from Burton looking up at the shadows in the window. 

 

 

Well, sorta. Nick couldnt "do the deed" in the end. Too much alcohol..........



#14 speedracer5

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 03:16 AM

You're welcome. There's line by "Honey" (played by Sandy Dennis in the movie) to Martha after she realizes the truth about the "son": "You couldn't have children?"

I always thought it was touching that George responds "We couldn't" (or something to that affect).

Knowing that George said "We couldn't" as a means to support Martha kind of adds something to my perception of their relationship.  I kind of figured they were both bad drunks and unhappy in marriage.  Now, I get more of the impression that they're the type who passionately love and hate each other.  The only person they want to fight with is the other person.  Alcohol just adds another level to the "passion."  Their relationship seems like how I would imagine the real Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton relationship to be.  If I were part of the younger couple, I think I would have figured out a way to leave before they finally do at the end.  What an uncomfortable, but oddly fascinating evening it would be.  Maybe the curiosity is what kept them hooked.

 

At the end, I assume that Martha and George Segal's character hooked up right? That's what I inferred from Burton looking up at the shadows in the window. 


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"A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants." -Ted Baxter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

 

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#15 speedracer5

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 03:11 AM

There are many of us who'd love to see Beyond the Forest again (or for the first time) It's fallen into rights hell and cant be shown. TCM  used to show it (10 or more years ago....) Hopefully the rights can be worked out and it'll be shown again at some point.....In the film the line is just said deadpan, it's not the big deal that Martha makes of it. But there are a lot of other funny lines in it........(not always meant to be funny)............

Ugh.  It's too bad that Beyond the Forest is being held up in rights limbo.  I see it's available on VHS on Amazon... though I'm not sure if my VCR still works.  I haven't used it in years. 

 

I'll have to add this film to the list of other films I keep suggesting to TCM that have also fallen into "rights hell."


"It's not an old movie if you haven't seen it." -Lauren Bacall

 

"A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants." -Ted Baxter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

 

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#16 speedracer5

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 03:09 AM

George and Martha's son was imaginary.

George invented the accident that "killed" him to punish Martha.

Martha told George that he didn't have the right to "kill" the son---that they both had to make that decision since they had created him together. 

George responded that Martha had broken the rules by mentioning the son to others (the son was something they were to supposed to share only with each other) so George was justified in "killing" him (creating the accident).

 

PS. Thanks for the information on Mrs. Howell's first name.

Wow.  I completely missed that he was fake.  I thought it was weird that a kid with only a learner's permit was off driving by himself and out of all animals to encounter to cause him to drive off the road--a porcupine?

 

Maybe I should watch the repeat of this movie when it airs again later this week.


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"A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants." -Ted Baxter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

 

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#17 HoldenIsHere

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 10:56 PM

Well thanks for this info on WAOVW.    Until now I believed that Martha had an abortion not that she was unable to have a child.

 

You're welcome. There's line by "Honey" (played by Sandy Dennis in the movie) to Martha after she realizes the truth about the "son": "You couldn't have children?"

I always thought it was touching that George responds "We couldn't" (or something to that affect).



#18 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 08:03 PM

George and Martha's son was imaginary.

George invented the accident that "killed" him to punish Martha.

Martha told George that he didn't have the right to "kill" the son---that they both had to make that decision since they had created him together. 

George responded that Martha had broken the rules by mentioning the son to others (the son was something they were to supposed to share only with each other) so George was justified in "killing" him (creating the accident).

 

PS. Thanks for the information on Mrs. Howell's first name.

 

Well thanks for this info on WAOVW.    Until now I believed that Martha had an abortion not that she was unable to have a child.



#19 Hibi

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 06:09 PM

I just watched this film for the first time last night.  I know that it's been on 500 times in the past year and that it apparently seems to be a holiday classic (at least in TCM's eyes, lol). 

 

I could see it being holiday related-- there are probably people whose family holiday festivities are reduced to drunken arguing. 

 

But I digress.

 

I've read quite a few people on this message board say that they don't like this film because it's basically two hours of people yelling.  Which I can see their viewpoint.

 

However, call me crazy, but I really liked it.  Granted, I don't think it's a film I could just pop in at any time, I'd have to be in the mood to watch it and really pay attention; but I really liked it.  Elizabeth Taylor was really good--quite a different Elizabeth Taylor than I'm used to.  I had never seen Burton in a film before.  He was excellent as well.  I liked George Segal's performance.  I can't say I'm a fan of Sandy Dennis.  While she was good in the film, I don't know, I found her kind of annoying.  I can't really explain why either.

 

This film had so much going on I feel like it will require a second viewing.  I couldn't figure out the significance of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton repeatedly singing "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" to each other. I loved the cinematography-- such interesting camera angles and I liked the grittiness of how the film looked. 

 

I also want to see the Bette Davis/Joseph Cotten film that Elizabeth Taylor was describing at the beginning-- Beyond the Forest I believe is what it is called.  It is the film where Bette Davis utters her immortal line: "What a dump!" Plus the film is a film noir, makes it even more intriguing.

 

 

There are many of us who'd love to see Beyond the Forest again (or for the first time) It's fallen into rights hell and cant be shown. TCM  used to show it (10 or more years ago....) Hopefully the rights can be worked out and it'll be shown again at some point.....In the film the line is just said deadpan, it's not the big deal that Martha makes of it. But there are a lot of other funny lines in it........(not always meant to be funny)............



#20 HoldenIsHere

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 03:07 PM

Okay.  I missed that the implication about the contraceptives.  I was thinking that he married her because he thought he "had to," and later it turned out to be a false alarm, after which, he felt trapped by her.  When he was discussing children with Burton, it almost sounded like one of them wanted children and the other was holding out.  In regard to Burton and Taylor's child, I was half expecting that whole situation to turn out to be untrue or some sort of delusion on both their parts, until the very end when it's revealed that the son had died in a car accident. 

 

 

BTW: Mrs. Howell's real name was Eunice. 

 

Source: Reruns of Gilligan's Island every morning before school for most of my high school career.

 

George and Martha's son was imaginary.

George invented the accident that "killed" him to punish Martha.

Martha told George that he didn't have the right to "kill" the son---that they both had to make that decision since they had created him together. 

George responded that Martha had broken the rules by mentioning the son to others (the son was something they were to supposed to share only with each other) so George was justified in "killing" him (creating the accident).

 

PS. Thanks for the information on Mrs. Howell's first name.






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