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Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift were best friends and co-stars in three films. The first, A Place in the Sun, is an undisputed classic which captures both stars at the peak of their talents and physical beauty. The shoot of the second, Raintree County, was interrupted by a horrible car accident in which Clift’s face was disfigured. This episode tracks Taylor’s relationship with the troubled Clift, from their first, studio-setup date through his untimely death — the result of what some have called “Hollywood’s slowest suicide.”
Almost all biographical writing on Montgomery Clift seems to be indebted to Patricia Bosworth’s 1978 doorstop Montgomery Clift, which is the source of most of the quotes in this episode. Unfortunately, the countless Elizabeth Taylor biographies are mostly redundant, and the more recent they are, the more they seem to recycle old stories without new information or insight. My current favorite book about Taylor is Furious Love, by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, which tracks her relationship with Richard Burton, and thus was only useful for a small portion of this podcast. In researching this episode I consultedHow to Be a Movie Star by William J. Mann, Who’s Afraid of Elizabeth Taylor by Brenda Maddox, and Elizabeth Taylor: An Informal Memoir by Elizabeth Taylor, Bring in the Peacocks, or Memoirs of a Hollywood Producer by Hank Moonjean, and Who the Hell’s In It by Peter Bogdanovich.
There are pictures of Clift and Taylor on the sets of both A Place in the Sun (including the contact sheet featuring the photo at the top of this post) and Raintree County in my book, Hollywood Frame by Frame.
Special thanks to Kent Kincannon, who played Montgomery Clift.
At the end of this episode, there’s an excerpt from the Clash song “The Right Profile.” I don’t know much about the writing of the song, although I’ve read it was inspired by Bosworth’s biography, and the song essentially summarizes the book. For awhile, Julie Delpy was planning to direct a biopic about Strummer named after the song, although that looks like it has fallen apart. I’ve thought about doing an episode about Joe Strummer and/in Hollywood at some point in the future, but my sense from doing a small amount of research is that it might be a difficult subject, and that I would need to find an expert to help. Anyone know anyone?
“American” by Lana Del Rey
“Burning Desire” by Lana Del Rey
“Au coin de la rue” by Marco Raaphorst
“I Only Have Eyes For You” performed by The Flamingos
“I Am A Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor” by Chris Zabriskie
“Dances and Dames” by Kevin MacLeod
“Out of the Skies, Under the Earth” by Chris Zabriskie
“Wonder Cycle” by Chris Zabriskie
“Off to Osaka” by Kevin MacLeod
“Dance of the Stargazer” performed by U.S. Army Blues
“Prelude No. 21” by Chris Zabriskie
“I Trust a Littler of Kittens Still Keeps The Colloseum” by Joan of Arc
“For Better or Worse” by Kai Engel
“Exlibris” by Kosta T
“Melancholy Aftersounds” by Kai Engel
“The Wrong Way” by Jahzzar
“Gymnopedie No. 2” by Eric Satie, performed by Kevin MacLeod
“The Right Profile” by The Clash