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Encyclopedia > Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (film)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Original film poster
Directed by Mike Nichols
Produced by Ernest Lehman
Written by Edward Albee (play)
Ernest Lehman
Starring Elizabeth Taylor
Richard Burton
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) June 21, 1966 (USA)
Running time 131 min.
Country U.S.A.
Language English
IMDb profile

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 film adaptation of the play of the same name by Edward Albee. It was the first film directed by Mike Nichols, and starred Elizabeth Taylor as Martha and Richard Burton as George, with George Segal as Nick and Sandy Dennis as Honey. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a play on the title of the once popular song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" from "Three Little Pigs". Image File history File links 259253. ... Mike Nichols (born Michael Igor Peschkowsky) is an Academy Award winning movie director of films such as The Graduate and Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He was born on November 6, 1931 in Berlin, to a Jewish Russian family. ... Ernest Lehman (born December 8, 1915 in New York City - died July 2, 2005 in Los Angeles, California) was a successful screenwriter in Hollywood. ... Edward Albee, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1961 Edward Franklin Albee III (born March 12, 1928) is an American playwright known for works including Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, and The Sandbox. ... Ernest Lehman (born December 8, 1915 in New York City - died July 2, 2005 in Los Angeles, California) was a successful screenwriter in Hollywood. ... For other persons named Elizabeth Taylor, see Elizabeth Taylor (disambiguation). ... Richard Burton CBE (November 10, 1925 – August 5, 1984) was a Welsh actor. ... Warner Bros. ... is the 172nd day of the year (173rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... // Events Top grossing films North America Thunderball Dr. Zhivago Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? That Darn Cat! The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming Academy Awards Best Picture: A Man for All Seasons - Highland, Columbia Best Actor: Paul Scofield - A Man for All Seasons Best Actress: Elizabeth Taylor... For other uses, see United States (disambiguation) and US (disambiguation). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a play by Edward Albee that opened on Broadway at the Billy Rose Theater on October 13, 1962. ... Edward Albee, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1961 Edward Franklin Albee III (born March 12, 1928) is an American playwright known for works including Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, and The Sandbox. ... Mike Nichols (born Michael Igor Peschkowsky) is an Academy Award winning movie director of films such as The Graduate and Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He was born on November 6, 1931 in Berlin, to a Jewish Russian family. ... For other persons named Elizabeth Taylor, see Elizabeth Taylor (disambiguation). ... This article is about the 20th-century actor. ... George Segal George Segal (born February 13, 1934) is a well-known Jewish American film and stage actor who was born in Great Neck, Long Island, New York. ... Sandy Dennis Sandy Dennis (April 27, 1937 – March 2, 1992) was an Academy Award and Tony-winning American theater and film actress. ... Three Little Pigs is an animated short film released on May 27, 1933 by United Artists, produced by Walt Disney and directed by Burton Gillett. ...

Contents

Adaptation

The film version differs slightly from the play. The play features only four characters, while in the film there are two other minor characters — the host of a roadhouse who appears briefly and says a few lines, and his wife, who serves a tray of drinks and leaves silently. (They were played by the film's gaffer, Frank Flanagan, and his wife Agnes Flanagan.) A roadhouse is a theatre building that does not house a producing company of its own, but instead rents its facility to production companies. ... A gaffer in the motion picture industry is the head of the electrical department, responsible for the execution (and sometimes the design) of the lighting plan for a production. ...


In the play, each scene takes place entirely in Martha and George's house. In the film, one scene takes place at the roadhouse, one in George and Martha's yard, and one in their car. Despite these minor variations, however, the film is extremely faithful to the play. The filmmakers used the original play as the screenplay and, aside from toning down some of the profanity slightly — Martha's "screw you!" becomes "God damn you!" — virtually all of the original dialogue remains intact.


Casting

The choice of Taylor — at the time regarded as one of the most beautiful women in the world — to play the frumpy, fifty-ish Martha surprised many, but the actress gained thirty pounds for the role, and her performance (along with those of Burton, Segal and Dennis) was ultimately praised. According to Edward Albee, he had been told that Bette Davis and James Mason were going to play "Martha" and "George" — in the script, Martha references Davis and quotes her famous "What a dump!" line from the film Beyond the Forest (1949) — and was surprised by the Burton/Taylor casting, but stated that Taylor was quite good, and Burton was incredible. For the singer, see Betty Davis, for the meteorologist, see Betty Davis (meteorologist). ... James Neville Mason (May 15, 1909 – July 27, 1984) was a three-time Academy Award nominated English actor who attained stardom in both British and American films. ... Beyond the Forest is a 1949 film starring Bette Davis. ...


Censorship controversy

The film was considered groundbreaking for having a level of profanity and sexual implication unheard of at that time. Jack Valenti, who had just become president of the Motion Picture Association of America in 1966, had abolished the old Production Code. In order for the film to be released with MPAA approval, Warner Bros. agreed to minor deletions of certain profanities and to have a special warning placed on all advertisements for the film, indicating adult content. It was this film and another groundbreaking film, Michaelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966), that led Jack Valenti to begin work on the MPAA film rating system that went into effect on November 1, 1968. Jack Joseph Valenti (September 5, 1921 – April 26, 2007) was an influential corpse and a long-time president of the Motion Picture Association of America. ... The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), originally called the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association of America, is a non-profit trade association based in the United States which was formed to advance the interests of movie studios. ... The Production Code (also known as the Hays Code) was a set of industry guidelines governing the production of American motion pictures. ... Warner Bros. ... Michelangelo Antonioni (born September 29, 1912 in Ferrara, Italy) is an Italian film director whose films are widely considered as some of the most influential in film aesthetic. ... Look up blow up in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The MPAA film rating system is a system used in the United States and territories and instituted by the Motion Picture Association of America to rate a movie based on its content. ... is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the film version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, 1966

Image File history File links Taylor and Burton in Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Taylor and Burton in Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...

Reference in Popular Culture

  • Mad Magazine published a spoof of the movie, entitled Who in Heck is Virginia Woolf?! At one point, it is remarked "This is an art film, so the censors have to let us talk dirty!" Most of the swearing is replaced with dingbats: when Martha asks George "%$?" and he replies "What kind of profanity is that, Liz (Taylor)?!", she says "I was just asking what percentage of the gross we're (Taylor and Burton) getting!" Their son turns out to be real, and to George and Martha's dismay, a clean-cut non-dysfunctional bore, in keeping with Mad's tradition of altering the endings of the movies that they parody.
  • The film was spoofed on The Benny Hill Show, with Hill playing both Burton's and Taylor's parts.
  • In Kevin and Kell, George and Martha Fennec are a married couple who divorce during the course of the series. According to the unofficial FAQ, their names are intended as a reference to the film. However, apart from their names, they do not resemble the Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? characters. Unlike the childless original George and Martha Kevin and Kell's George and Martha have a daughter early in their marriage, and George has a son with his second wife.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Marge and Homer go on a marriage counseling session with other couples, one such couple acts and sounds similar to George and Martha. However, just by looking into each other's eyes, the two fall in love again and walk off into the sunset within seconds.
  • In an episode of American Dad, Roger the Alien and Francine adopt a role playing game to escape the boredom of their daily lives. Roger adapts the persona of Professor Jordan Edilstein, while Francine chooses the character of Amanda Lane. The two meet a new couple in town, Rick and Candy, and invite them for a dinner party in which Jordan and Amanda get drunk and verbally and physically fight, while Rick and Candy sit there. It ultimately ends with Rick and Candy leaving, and Roger and Francine reassuring each other that everything will be all right.

Harvey Kurtzmans cover for the first issue of the comic book Mad Mad is an American humor magazine founded by publisher William Gaines and editor Harvey Kurtzman in 1952. ... A dingbat is an ornament or spacer used in typesetting, sometimes more formally known as a printers ornament. The term supposedly originated as onomatopoeia in old style metal-type print shops, where extra space around text or illustrations would be filled by dinging an ornament into the space... Born Alfred Hawthorn Hill (January 21, 1924/1925 - April 20, 1992), Benny Hill was a prolific comic British actor. ... This article or section contains a plot summary that is overly long. ... War of the Simpsons is an episode of the second season of The Simpsons Episode details Production Number: 7F20 Original Air Date: May 2, 1991 Writers: John Swartzwelder Director: Mark Kirkland Blackboard: I will not do anything bad ever again Couch Gag: Homers breadth knocks everyone else off one... Simpsons redirects here. ... The Smiths, from left to right: Roger, Francine, Stan, Klaus, Hayley, and Steve. ...

Awards and acclaim

The film was the only one to be nominated in every eligible category at the Academy Awards (picture, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, director, adapted screenplay, art direction/set decoration (b&w), cinematography (b&w), sound, costume design (b&w), music score, and film editing). Each of the four main actors was nominated for an Oscar but only Taylor and Sandy Dennis (Honey) won, for Best Actress and Supporting Actress, respectively. The film also won the Black and White Cinematography award for Haskell Wexler's stark, black-and-white camera work (it was the last film to win before the category was eliminated). Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ... Although he never won an Oscar for any of his movie performances, the comedian Bob Hope received two honorary Oscars for his contributions to cinema. ... Sandy Dennis Sandy Dennis (April 27, 1937 – March 2, 1992) was an Academy Award and Tony-winning American theater and film actress. ... The Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the awards given to actresses working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; nominations are made by Academy members who are actors and actresses. ... The Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the awards given to actresses working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; nominations are made by Academy members who are actors and actresses. ... The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is awarded each year to a cinematographer for his work in one particular motion picture. ... Haskell Wexler (born February 6, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois) is an award-winning American cinematographer and director. ...


The film received the BAFTA Award for Best Film from any Source. This page lists the winners of the BAFTA Award for Best Film for each year, along with the nominees. ...


Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was poet Charles Bukowski's favorite film.[citation needed] Henry Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was an influential Los Angeles poet and novelist. ...


It frequently appears on the top 250 films list at the Internet Movie Database. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. ...

 It was voted as #67 on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) list. 

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with AFIs 100 Years. ...

External links

  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Internet Movie Database
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the TCM Movie Database
  • Complete list of actors who were considered for roles
  • American Dad Parody of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Awards
Preceded by
My Fair Lady
BAFTA Award for Best Film from any Source
1966
Succeeded by
A Man for All Seasons

 
 

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