Not, obligingly, Liz or Dick--whose public lives are rehashed here from poor (his) and privileged (hers) childhood through stage, screen, and off-screen celebrity to Cleopatra & Co., next to Watergate ""the most publicized morality drama. . . of modern times."" With supporting quotes from the Bard, passion flares, gossip spreads, box-office prospects suffer, Wanger worries (""a cancer [that] will destroy us ali""), Skouras threatens, Burton goes berserk, LIZ TURNS DOWN EDDIE'S OCEAN PHONE CALL LOVE PLEA. . . and, under constant assault, attention fades More tiresome still are the post mortems: were they driven apart by ""too much togetherness""? Professional competition? Rootlessness? No, he had failed her: ""Elizabeth had lost the feeling of protection, of emotional security, that she needed and wanted from Richard Burton. . . the reasons lay in a whisky bottle and in a tube of lipstick."" Innumerable Burton excesses later (with Burton pegged as another John Barrymore), was it ""really love at all?"" Clippingphilia, as stale and tacky as a nightclub in the morn.