The V.I.P.s (1963)

ANTHONY ASQUITH

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

United Kingdom, 1963Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, De Grunwald Productions.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by . Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1963.  Golden Globe Awards 1963

Jolly, multi-casted romp about the jet set that transcends its Sidney Sheldon-esque trappings by featuring characters actually worth caring about. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton head a large group of famous names who all play passengers on a flight leaving London for America that is delayed because of blasted English fog.  Trouble is, most of these characters absolutely must leave the country right away or their problems will increase to a lethal level–Liz is leaving Burton for lover , Orson Welles is trying to avoid paying his taxes, and  (in one of his few American roles where he used his real Australian accent) needs to save his small business from takeover by getting to New York as soon as possible. Terence Rattigan’s script is witty and simple, and all the stories are fun to follow, none better than Rod Taylor and his relationship with his secretary, played in a very early role by an unstoppable Maggie Smith.  Liz is beautiful and indomitable in the lead; not one of her better parts, but still solid proof that she was, and always will be, a star. Margaret Rutherford shines as a Duchess who doesn’t want to leave home.

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