Movie Monday: Butterfield 8 1960
She wakes up alone in a bed not her own. She washes out her mouth with expensive whiskey and tries on the furs of another man's wife. A typical morning for Gloria Wandrous, who is outraged when last night's lover leaves money for her on the dresser. She scrawls furiously with red lipstick onto his gilded mirror, "No sale!"
Elizabeth Taylor's role in Butterfield 8 is as complex as the actress's real-life persona. Fighting a dirty reputation that she just can't help but confirm at every turn, the unexpected happens for this looking-for-love party girl- She falls in love. Really falls in love. But of course, she chose the wrong man.
Butterfield 8 is the story of a fashionable, party-girl who might be part call-girl, party model, and certainly all woman. She is passed around form man to man, when the movie's start finds her in a love affair with a wealthy married man. She dreams that maybe she can tart fresh, that her past can be wiped clean. But the turn of events make her wonder if this will ever be possible.
It's a sad movie that I remember affecting me deeply the first time I watched it years ago. The second time through, I was a little disappointed by what seemed to be a tritely contrived melodrama that would probably never have worked without Elizabeth Taylor as the leading lady. Still, even with a weak plot and less than stellar dialogue, Taylor manages to draw us into the confused emotions of Gloria. It's not an all-time favorite, but it has style, is an interesting reflection of the times, and I suppose I wouldn't mind recommending it to a friend like you!