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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966 ****

A pre-Graduate Mike Nichols is at the top of his game in this intense, black and white imagining of Edward Albee’s claustrophobic play about a literary couple who invite some younger people over for a memorable dinner. Casting Richard Burton and Elisabeth Taylor as George and Martha creates the kind of sparks that few of their other films could muster, while George Segal and Sandy Dennis are in no way out of their depth as the guests that George and Martha decide to ‘get’.  Uncovering the darker side of on-campus relationships, Nichols’ tight control stops Virginia Woolf turning into a screaming match; instead it’s one of the best cinematic adaptations of a play, making good use of minimal locations and allowing talented performers the space to act up a storm.

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