Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Mike Nichols (1966)

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 American black comedydrama film directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman is an adaptation of the play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor as Martha and Richard Burton as George, with George Segal as Nick and Sandy Dennis as Honey. The film was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Mike Nichols, and is one of only two films to be nominated in every eligible category at the Academy Awards (the other being Cimarron). All of the film’s four main actors were nominated in their respective acting categories. … The film centers on the volatile marriage of a middle-aged couple: George, an associate history professor at a small New England college, and Martha, the daughter of the university president. After they return home drunk from a party, Martha reveals she has invited a young married couple, whom she had met at the party, for a drink. The guests arrive – Nick, a biology professor (whom Martha mistakenly believes to be a math professor), and his wife, Honey – at 2:30 am. As the four drink, Martha and George engage in scathing verbal abuse in front of Nick and Honey. The younger couple is first embarrassed and later enmeshed. The wives briefly separate from the husbands, and upon their return, Honey reveals that Martha has told her about her and George’s son, adding that she understands that the following day (Sunday) will mark his sixteenth birthday. George is visibly angry that Martha has divulged this information. … However, fearing that the talky, character-driven story would land with a resounding thud—and that audiences would grow weary of watching two hours of screaming between a harridan and a wimp—Nichols and Lehman cast stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Edward Albee was surprised by the casting decision, but later stated that Taylor was quite good and Burton was incredible. … The film was considered groundbreaking for having a level of profanity and sexual implication unheard of at that time. Jack Valenti, who had just become president of the MPAA in 1966, had abolished the old Production Code. In order for the film to be released with MPAA approval, Warner Bros. agreed to minor deletions of certain profanities and to have a special warning placed on all advertisements for the film, indicating adult content. …”
Q: Why was “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” considered “unfilmable” in the 1960s?
Film Site
YouTube: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Official Trailer, Liz Taylor (Richard Burton, Mike Nichols)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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