Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

1966/2006

 

A claustrophobic nightmare filmed in razor's edge close-up, Mike Nichols' astonishing 1966 directorial debut, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," still shocks you some four decades later. Anchored by the powerhouse performances of then-couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, it's a visceral adaptation of Edward Albee's play that pins you to the wall and doesn't let go.
 
Taylor and Burton play Martha and George, respectively, an acrimonious, alcoholic couple whose marriage is held together by withering insults and indifference; having invited fresh-faced new friends Nick (George Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis) over for a late evening of psychological combat.
 
On this newly remastered two-disc set, the film is only the beginning: a pair of commentary tracks "? one with cinematographer Haskell Wexler, the other a fascinating conversation between Steven Soderbergh and Nichols "? are worth the price of admission alone, with vintage featurettes and other behind-the-scenes materials completing th e package. Highly recommended.

"?Preston Jones

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