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After his successful direction of the Broadway hits Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple, Mike Nichols made his filmmaking debut with this outstanding and still-powerful screen adaptation (by Ernest Lehman) of Edward Albee's taboo-shattering play. In their fourth film together (and by far their finest), Richard Burton and Oscar winner Elizabeth Taylor play a New England couple whose marriage hangs by a thin thread of self-deception, vicious verbal jousting, and embittered mutual need. George Segal and Sandy Dennis (who also won an Oscar) play the younger, unsuspecting couple who awkwardly witness the devastating rivalry of their hosts. Handling adult themes with intelligence and forceful dramatic impact, this was the film that finally shattered Hollywood's self-censoring Production Code with commercially successful results. The DVD features an insightful commentary track by Haskell Wexler, whose black-and-white cinematography deservedly won an Academy Award.

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