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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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25 replies to this topic

#21 TheGayDivorcee

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 04:43 AM

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. 

 

 

Unless  I misunderstood your post, the son was a fabrication George and Martha created because of Martha's inability to have children.  George "killed" him off that night because Martha spoke about him to the younger couple, something that was apparently verboten.  The movie really does need to be watched several times in order to absorb everything, at least that was my experience with it.  


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#22 speedracer5

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 02:22 AM

"Honey" didn't have an abortion. Her "pregnancy" (which led Nick to marry her) turned out to be a false alarm.

The implication was that she was secretly using contraceptives after her marriage.

 

Nick is never mentioned by name in the play or in the movie.

I think "Honey" is not his wife's actual name, but is the term of endearment that he calls her by (similarly to the way Mr. Howell from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND calls Mrs. Howell "Lovey." I think Mrs. Howell's first name was given in one episode -- heard on a radio news story the castaways were listening to.)

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. 

 

I feel like I need to re-watch.  There was so much going on that I need more viewings to absorb the whole story.  It seems here on the board that Elizabeth Taylor is kind of hit or miss.  I think I prefer the adult part of her career when she's a little more "hardened" (if that's the right word).  When she's the goody two shoes Elizabeth Taylor of the 40s and early 50s, she doesn't do much for me.  I liked her better when she took on more of the bad girl/seductress type roles.  Anyway, I thought Taylor was great in this film.  Knowing how tempestuous the real Taylor/Burton relationship was, I wonder how true to life this film was for them.  What part was acting and what part was them just getting their anger out?

 

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.


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#23 HoldenIsHere

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 02:44 PM

 

In Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? wasn't it determined that Honey had actually had an abortion, but due to the stigma, she claimed it was "hysterical pregnancy?" Or did George just suspect she had had an abortion and let them maintain the charade? Or perhaps Honey told Nick it was hysterical pregnancy when in reality, she'd had an abortion? I was suspecting that Nick and Honey were remaining childfree by choice, but were pretending that they were planning.  I imagine that the plan for a married couple to remain childfree, especially a woman to remain childfree and not want children, was probably not a popular viewpoint to have.

 

"Honey" didn't have an abortion. Her "pregnancy" (which led Nick to marry her) turned out to be a false alarm.

The implication was that she was secretly using contraceptives after her marriage.

 

Nick is never mentioned by name in the play or in the movie.

I think "Honey" is not his wife's actual name, but is the term of endearment that he calls her by (similarly to the way Mr. Howell from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND calls Mrs. Howell "Lovey." I think Mrs. Howell's first name was given in one episode -- heard on a radio news story the castaways were listening to.)



#24 speedracer5

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 03:24 PM

I've read that hysterical pregnancy is possible.  Apparently many of the symptoms are psychosomatic, but there are physical symptoms that are consistent with actual pregnancy symptoms.  These symptoms are a result of an increase in the hormones that typically increase when a woman is pregnant.  A woman with hysterical pregnancy actually believes she is pregnant as a result of the physical symptoms she experiences.  This is different than women who pretend to be pregnant, that is known as a simulated pregnancy.

 

I would imagine that hysterical pregnancy was more common when medicine was a little more primitive.  Today with all the advances in ultrasound and other obstetrics medicine, I would figure that doctors are probably more accurate in diagnosing pregnancy. 

 

In Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? wasn't it determined that Honey had actually had an abortion, but due to the stigma, she claimed it was "hysterical pregnancy?" Or did George just suspect she had had an abortion and let them maintain the charade? Or perhaps Honey told Nick it was hysterical pregnancy when in reality, she'd had an abortion? I was suspecting that Nick and Honey were remaining childfree by choice, but were pretending that they were planning.  I imagine that the plan for a married couple to remain childfree, especially a woman to remain childfree and not want children, was probably not a popular viewpoint to have.


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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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#25 CoraSmith

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 05:36 AM

Yes, I also like that film, based on Edward Albee's play. It's one of Liz Taylor's best parts and all the actors are good. I still wonder if hysterical pregnancy really is possible. I had heard of hysterical blindness, but not of that. There's a strong contrast between the two women and their views on having children or not.

 

The song is a drunken people's parody of "Who's afraid of the big bad woolf", the kind of humor that's funny when you're drunk, but silly when you're sober.



#26 speedracer5

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 11:15 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.


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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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