Richard Burton

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In the seventies he did make a number of memorable screen appearance such as ‘The Gathering Storm’ TV (1974) in which he played Winston Churchill and one of my personal favorites as Col Faulkner in ‘The Wild Geese’ (1978). The film tried to achieve a great deal with political statements and exploring inter-relationships – on the whole I would say that it succeeded – I’m sure the critics would not agree – do I look bothered!! In the film Richard was playing the ‘down on his luck’ drunken merc with no morals – it would be to cruel to suggest that this parodied the last few years of the mid seventies but the parallels have been made. There are several notable scenes but among the best are the final confrontation with Stuart Granger; and when he meets Harris for the first time. He played the role brilliantly and very believably, assisted my messrs Moore, Harris and Krüger.

He delivered an Oscar-caliber performance in Equus (1977) and it was hailed at the time as a ‘comeback’ even though the actor had never left. His time he lost the Oscar to Richard Dreyfuss for his performance in ‘The Goodbye Girl’. Burton managed to recapture his old performing fire in his last moviemaking years, offering up one of his best performances in his final picture, 1984 (1984). He died later that year.

He was nominated for seven Academy Awards, which, until taken over by Peter O’Toole this year, was the record for the most nominations without a single win. Those nominations were: for Best Supporting Actor for My Cousin Rachel (1952); and Best Actor for The Robe (1953), Beckett (1964), The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Anne of the Thousand Days (1970), and Equus (1977).

His scandalous affairs and his devil-may-care attitude towards life and some of his peers caused his genuinely brilliant performances to be snubbed by the Academy. (In 1969, John Wayne came knocking on Burton's door - thrusting his Oscar for True Grit out, he told Burton

"You should have this, not me."

It was on some accounts an unfulfilled life. Although it must be said that others from Pontrhydyfen probably didn’t make the same impact on the world; however his career, along with his happiness was intermittent and seemed to be on a rollercoaster. Perhaps his lifestyle prevented his Knighthood and Oscar but when Richard Burton was on fire there are few I would prefer to watch.

At 34 she is an extremely beautiful woman, lavishly endowed by nature with a few flaws in the masterpiece: She has an insipid double chin, her legs are too short and she has a slight potbelly. She has a wonderful bosom, though.

False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports.

I rather like my reputation, actually, that of a spoiled genius from the Welsh gutter, a drunk, a womanizer; it's rather an attractive image.

The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.

Rich: Life of Richard Burton by Melvyn Bragg

Suggested films to see:

The spy who came in from the cold (1965)
Beckett (1964)
1984 (1984)
The Wild Geese (1978)
Where eagles dare (1968)




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