If there was a better and more beautiful actress in her prime than Elizabeth Taylor Noman never saw her. In the 1960's when Noman was growing up she was already living on her reputation as a beauty, more than being the beauty she was just a decade earlier. She was starting to have weight problems, and was somewhat of a laughing stock with all of her husbands, and the seemingly endless succession of breakups and reconciliations with Richard Burton.
But, there was no laughing at her acting ability. This being the age of accessible celluloid moments--what with DVDs, Netflix, TCM and YouTube--Noman was able to discover what all of the hubbub was about. Two movies capture the phenomenon of Liz Taylor for him, both with Montgomery Clift: "A Place in the Sun" (1951) and "Suddenly, Last Summer" (1959). In the first, she plays a socialite in full bloom that falls in love with an ill-fated loner. Though co-stars Clift and Shelley Winter are magnificent, there is no taking one's eyes off of Taylor whenever she's on the screen.
She was equally captivating in Tennessee Williams' "Suddenly, Last Summer" as Catherine, the niece of a deranged Katherine Hepburn, and cousin of a man with a secret. Though whoever posted this video had fun taking liberties with the scenes, it captures the power of her performance.
One has to mention her performance as Maggie the Cat in another Tennessee Williams drama "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." She's quite a woman. And, the movie features one of Noman's favorite Paul Newman performances.
Liz aged ungracefully. And, who can forget John Belushi's memorable skewering of her as Senator John Warner's wife on Saturday Night Live. But, Noman will remember her beautiful face, her smoldering screen presence, and her powerful acting performances. She was a great one. Liz Taylor (1932-2011), R.I.P.