UK, Anthony Asquith (1963)
A bunch of highfalutin, wealthy airline passengers are grounded by London fog and forced to deal with life-changing crisis. (“If I don’t get out of the country by midnight tonight, I’ll be forced to pay a million dollars in taxes!!”) Stuff we can all relate to. Think of the TV show Dynasty set in the ’60s on an episode of The Love Boat. The all-star cast includes Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Louis Jourdan, Rod Taylor, Orson Welles (spouting a horrid foreign accent,) Margaret Rutherford (in an Oscar-winning role,) and Maggie Smith. I suppose it’s worth watching for the performances of the latter two actresses, who are sorely underutilized. No, on second thought, it’s not even worth it for that.
Far too much time is taken up with the run-of-the-mill Taylor/Burton storyline. Unhappy and neglected in her marriage to millionaire businessman Richard, Liz is running off with aging playboy Louis Jourdan. Will the fog lift, letting the lovers escape to New York before her husband discovers the note she left which explains everything? What will happen when angry hubby shows up to confront them? Who will Liz end up with? Does anyone really care? And wow, were hairstyles and fashion bad in 1963! This is soap opera movie making in the very worst way. Liz’s acting style is so cool and detached it’s hard to believe The V.I.P.s was made at the height of Liz and Richard’s scandalous real life love affair and easy to believe the stories that they were drinking madly all the way through the filming of this movie. [0 stars]