Butterfield 8 (1960); directed by Daniel Mann; pictured: Elizabeth Taylor; photo: MGM/Photofest; © MGM

Butterfield 8

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Adapted from John O’Hara’s novel of the same title, Daniel Mann’s 1960 drama Butterfield 8 revives a familiar theme in mid-twentieth-century American cinema and literature: the trope of the fallen woman. In this case, the fallen woman is Gloria Wandrous, a “repentant playgirl” brought to life by Elizabeth Taylor, who directors considered to be particularly well-suited to this role given her scandalous off-screen reputation. The film follows Gloria’s relationship with Weston Liggett, a wealthy and neurotic businessman torn between his attraction to Gloria and his sense of responsibility to his wife. Taylor, whose contract with MGM demanded that she take the role of Gloria, allegedly detested the film both before and after production, yet it won her the 1960 Academy Award for Best Actress. It also provided the inspiration for Andy Warhol’s Liz series, a screen portrait of Taylor based off the film’s publicity stills. In Warhol’s portrait, Taylor’s face appears to glow, as if illuminated by the flash of a camera.


Film Details

Director: Daniel Mann

Year: 1960

Running time: 109 minutes

Country: United States

Format: Digital presentation

Rights: Swank

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