Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Liz Taylor tribute is finally here

TCM's 24-hour salute to the recently deceased Elizabeth Taylor is finally coming to a TV screen near you; it's starting tomorrow at 6:00 AM ET. TCM is showing 11 movies, but A Place in the Sun, from which the photo at left is taken, is not one of them. Those who want to see Taylor together with Montgomery Clift will have to watch Raintree County at 2:45 PM. The complete list, starting at 6:00 AM:

Lassie Come Home at 6:00 AM;
National Velvet at 7:30 AM;
Conspirator at 10:00 AM;
Father of the Bride at 11:30 AM;
Father's Little Dividend at 1:15 PM;
Raintree County at 2:45 PM;
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at 6:00 PM;
Butterfield 8 at 8:00 PM;
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at 10:00 PM;
Giant at 12:30 AM; and
Ivanhoe at 4:00 AM.

Surprisingly, I haven't blogged on any of them yet. Butterfield 8, showing up in prime time, will finally be the subject for a full-length blog post tomorrow; today I'd like to mention Father of the Bride. Taylor plays the bride, about to be married to Don Taylor. The father is played by Spencer Tracy, and the story deals more with him than with Elizabeth Taylor. I've never married off any daughters, but I have seen two sisters get married, and I know that weddings are a stressful time for the people around the bride, as the bride always seems to want everything to be perfect. Poor Spencer Tracy has to deal with that, and with having to pay for the wedding, since it was traditional for the bride's parents to foot the bill back then. It's all funny because it's true. Regarding paying for the wedding, I'm reminded of an exchange with my then 10-year-old niece at my brother's wedding. My niece knew the people cry at weddings, and she asked whether her parents (my sister and brother-in-law) would be crying more over her wedding or her brother's. I joked that it would be her wedding, because my sister would be helping pay for it. My niece was too young to know the tradition of the bride's family paying, so my sister told her that, yes, that's the tradition. My niece thought for a moment and then responded, "So you mean my wedding is going to be free?" I can only imagine how Spencer Tracy would have reacted to that.

To be fair, though, Father of the Bride is a lot funner than I, or my relatives, are. It's also got quite a good cast of character actors. Besides the three names I've mentioned, there's Joan Bennett as the bride's mother, and Billie Burke and Moroni Olsen as the groom's parents. Leo G. Carroll plays the caterer who turns Tracy's house upside-down; back then, it was not uncommon for the post-wedding party to be held at the house of the bride's parents, especially if the wedding was held there. (See the end of The Best Years of Our Lives.) Finally, there's Russ Tamblyn, still going by Rusty, as Elizabeth Taylor's kid brother.

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