Picks and Pans Review: Tennessee William's Sweet Bird of Youth
Elizabeth Taylor, as an aging alcoholic movie queen, and Mark Harmon, as the ambitious drifter who sees Taylor as his ticket to bigger things, star in this sometimes slow-moving retelling of the classic Williams play and 1962 movie. Taylor (whose Oscar nominations include those for Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer) and Harmon give sturdy performances. There is plenty of Williamsesque fussing and boozing. Newcomer Cheryl Paris (see page 48) plays Heavenly and fits the part. But while Harmon and Taylor give off occasional steam, they never really come to a full boil. And Harmon also sports a woefully unflattering '50s haircut (cover those ears, Mark!). Rip Torn (who appeared in the '62 movie, which starred Paul Newman and Geraldine Page) and Valerie Perrine add effective supporting touches. Liz's son, actor Michael Wilding, has a cameo as a Hollywood producer. Idiosyncratic film director Nicolas (The Man Who Fell to Earth) Roeg gives us endless close-ups of his two stars' dazzling blue eyes—but the production doesn't add up to anything memorable.