Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (PG) Saturday, 6.20pm, TCM (428) The African Queen (PG) Saturday, 10.20pm, Fox Classics (113) Unforgiven (M) Sunday, 8.30pm, Fox Classics (113) Only two films have ever been Oscar-nominated in every category for which they were eligible, and the second of those was director Mike Nichols’s masterful visualisation of playwright Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Saturday, 6.20pm, TCM).
North by Northwest screenwriter Ernest Lehman, hot off The Sound of Music, produced and adapted the film, which stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as the married, bickering academics, and George Segal and Sandy Dennis as their unwitting verbal prey. Easily Taylor and Burton’s best film work, the movie feels remarkably fresh today — particularly since it was made in 1966. It received 13 nominations and won for Taylor and Dennis; the only other film to have as many nominations was the 1931 Western Cimarron.
As long as the subject is Oscar trivia and westerns, what was the last film of the noble genre to date to win best picture? That would be Clint Eastwood’s masterful, career-summing 1992 film Unforgiven (Sunday, 8.30pm, Fox Classics). Clint plays a former killer lured out of farming retirement to murder a pair of cowboys who have disfigured a prostitute.
As much of a meditation on the passage of time and the complexity of myths as a traditional shoot-‘em-up, Eastwood’s elegiac pacing and dedication of the film to influences Don Siegel and Sergio Leone strongly suggest where his allegiances lay. Gene Hackman won the best supporting actor Oscar as a ruthless sheriff.
Humphrey Bogart won his only Academy Award for best actor as the irascible tramp steamer captain Charlie Allnut opposite virtuous missionary Katharine Hepburn in director John Huston’s rousing 1951 Technicolor adventure The
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