The big bad Woolf returns!


If my neighbor’s bumper sticker is true and “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” then Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was a landmark event for stage and screen. It’s just one reason why we here at PopSmart are licking our chops at Woodruff Arts Center’s “Movie Night” at the 14th Street Playhouse, which premieres Tuesday night (Nov. 6) with the 1966 Mike Nichols classic about the most dysfunctional cinematic married couple this side of Michael and Kay Corleone.

No movie that I can think of taps on the delicate nerve of marital gamesmanship like this five-time Oscar-winning adaptation of Edward Albee’s stageplay about a bitter middle-aged college professor and his shrewish wife. Throughout, George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) parry and thrust, looking to expose each other’s every weakness to the horror of their younger counterparts, Nick (George Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis). Disillusionment never found a more accepting couple. I still can’t believe that my parents, themselves a college-faculty couple, allowed me to watch the film when it made its network TV premiere. It was like watching a horror movie for adults, and I remember spending hours pouring over the script that my dad had purchased when it was released in paperback.

I remember being struck by how life can so easily subvert love, and how Nick and Honey, so caught up in their newlywed bliss, realize that this could someday be them. Scary shit. FYI, the film is ranked No. 67 on the AFI list of the 100 greatest movies of all time.

The Woodruff’s November block of movie programming features the theme “The Sensational Sixties: Great Actresses,” and indeed Oscar winner Elizabeth Taylor was never better. Tomorrow's movie, shown on the Main Stage, starts at 8 p.m., and is $8-$10. Call 404-733-5000 for more info. Check out the rest of the schedule.

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