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Dominic West as Richard Burton and Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth Taylor. Courtesy BBC America
DVD review: ‘Burton and Taylor’ still smolder
First Published Feb 04 2014 09:46 am • Last Updated Feb 04 2014 09:48 am

Grade • A-

DVD • This British made-for-TV movie features great performances, good writing and a smart focus. It doesn’t try to tell the whole story of the relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as did the laughably bad American TV movie, "Liz & Dick."

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Instead, it focuses entirely on the 1983 revival of Noel Coward’s "Private Lives," a play about two ex-spouses reunited when they end up honeymooning at the same place with their new spouses. It was seven years after Taylor (Helana Bonham Carter) and Burton (Dominic West) divorced for the second time.

In ‘83, Taylor was a boozy, pill-popping mess trying to win Burton back; Burton was trying to stay sober and married to his fourth wife during the run of the play.

"Burton and Taylor" is a fictionalized account of this stormy reunion — it’s high drama mixed with occasional crazy comedy.

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