Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Christmas Album: Elizabeth



Fourteen Days into our Holiday jaunt finds us lingering in that transitional decade, the fifties, and who is dropping by, looking like Santa's haughtiest helper, but Elizabeth Taylor, nearing the height of her considerable beauty, and apparently cheesed off about something, based on that expression and hand on her hip. Just what is vexing the lady is a bit of a mystery. Could be the fact that Santa showed up at this photo shoot in the same colors as the star, or maybe she objects to that strange leer on Mr. Claus' bearded face. Either way, behind her peeved pout is a lifetime spent in the public eye.

Taylor, whose first credit remains the dubiously titled There's One Born Every Minute (1942), has been proving her unique qualities from the first. A stunning beauty from infancy may have shaped her life's path, but her spirit, so touching in Jane Eyre (1944) as Peggy Ann Garner's doomed friend at the orphanage, and so naturally noble in Lassie Come Home (1943) and Courage of Lassie (1946), found its most vibrant, youthful expression in what this viewer still regards as her best movie, National Velvet (1944). Ms. Taylor could have called it a day then and she'd probably still be a legendary actress.

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