Public fascination with Elizabeth Taylor endures. Cleopatra, famous as much for launching her romance with Richard Burton as for any cinematic virtue, will get a 50th-anniversary release May 28 on DVD and Blu-ray. And it will be back on the big screen in select Cinemark theaters, including Fayette Mall, on Wednesday and May 26.
Lindsay Lohan, too, remains an object of interest, as much for her many personal and legal struggles as for her occasional demonstrations of acting ability. So from a publicity standpoint alone, the casting of Lohan as Taylor in the TV movie Liz and Dick must have seemed like a good idea.
But the movie did little to help Lohan's reputation or demonstrate what it was about Taylor that so mesmerized the public.
It focuses on the Taylor-Burton relationship from Cleopatra through marriage and divorce, remarriage and re-divorce, and on until Burton's death in 1984. (Taylor died in 2011.)
It is a story of two people who seemed ill-matched — she a child of the movies, he a once-poor Welshman acclaimed for stage work including Shakespeare — but who were besotted with each other, embarking on adventures that were very costly, financially and emotionally.
The movie was widely mocked, but I think a lot of that had to do with the ill will Lohan has accumulated with her tabloid exploits. Grant Bowler, as Burton, acts well enough, and Lohan makes some moments work. But the movie overall is flat, and Lohan is miscast — wrong for Taylor in terms of voice and physicality, no matter how much eye makeup she wears.
The DVD is rather shabby, the extras consisting of brief "interview" segments with the stars and production people; Lohan's and Bowler's seem to have been shot hastily, and poorly miked, with their voices echoing in the room.
Liz and Dick retails for $19.98 on DVD.
These DVDs also were released this week:
Films: Cloud Atlas; Texas Chainsaw; Beware of Mr. Baker; Leonie; Face 2 Face; Frankie Go Boom; A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III; The Bletchley Circle (PBS); Jubal (1956, The Criterion Collection); 3:10 to Yuma (1957, The Criterion Collection).
TV series: Dexter: The Seventh Season; Fraggle Rock: 30th Anniversary Collection (1983-87, all four seasons; Fraggle Rock: Meet The Fraggles (pilot and five episodes); Third Rock From the Sun: The Complete Series; Roseanne: The Complete Series; Dance Academy (2010/2011, Australian series on Teen Nick); My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic — Season Two; Power Rangers Samurai: The Sixth Ranger — Volume 4; Taz-Mania: Taz on the Loose — Season 1, Part 1; Team Umizoomi: Animal Heroes (Nickelodeon); Wordgirl vs. the Energy Monster (animated series from Scholastic Media, PBS).
THE WASHINGTON POST