WHO'S AFRAID OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR? by Brenda Maddox

WHO'S AFRAID OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Is every woman between the ages of 40 and 50 walking around with Elizabeth Taylor--""The Girl with the Woman's Body and the Child's Emotions""--on the brain? Phrase-making Maddox would have.us believe so, having herself grown up shadowed by ""cultural icon"" Liz, the pure, animal-loving little girl who became the teenager with the perfect father (Spencer Tracy) who married all those men because she was too moral to have affairs. ""There can be no more Elizabeth Taylors. . . . Sex will never be so dangerous again, nor will marriage."" The stab at social history may be misguided, but it produces as plausible and readable a Taylor bio as any, stressing the public imagery, the solid base of family affection (key to later survival-against-odds), the lack of taste in scripts and clothes, the ""symphony of illness,"" the mothering instinct, the greedy, selfish Burton years. Grieving Widow, Scarlet Woman, warm, shallow, ""self-important, humorless, litigious, and sullen,"" eating compulsively to rebel against the Studio and Mother--Maddox makes quite a horror show of this ""Queen of the Night"" but is eager to give her credit for occasional good acting (Woolf, Suddenly Last Summer). Hard to say for whom this is Taylor-ed: movie buffs won't fancy the relentless cutting edge; others will wonder why all the fusS. For those somewhere in the middle, however, a nicely nasty, jazzily scored dirge with one juicy specific for every blathery generalization.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1977
Publisher: Evans