Much like the dialogue in so many bad marriages, the script for this 1973 TV mini-series does not flow well, and is often strained, with awkward passages; it is nevertheless fascinating to watch Burton and Taylor battle each other, these fabulous on and off screen lovers, both experts in the chaos of divorce, having done so twice with each other, not to mention a few others.
Burton plays a businessman who is uncommunicative and aloof, and Taylor is his wife who will do anything to get his attention, until the relationship becomes almost sado-masochistic, with its manipulative games...as she tells him at one point, "it's no fun behaving badly if you're not going to punish me".
The story fluctuates between the present to flashback memories, with occasional fuzzy continuity, but since there is little plot, and this is a tale of emotions gone wrong, it doesn't affect the film.
The beauty of Taylor's face is breathtaking, but not all of Edith Head's gowns are flattering, which I found rather peculiar, as some actually accentuate certain out-of-shape elements in Taylor's figure that could have been easy to disguise.
Burton looks very dapper and immensely attractive, with his powerful, gorgeous voice.
Both give terrific performances, though by no means on the level of the '66 "Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf ?". Others in the cast include Carrie Nye, and Barry Foster, and it also stars the city of Rome, with some beautiful vistas of the Eternal City.
It is interesting that in one scene, there is a newspaper with the headline "London Arab Terror Alert", which was a top story just a few weeks ago, proving that headlines, like the games played in dreadful relationships, go 'round and 'round, as if caught in a web of madness.
Total playing time of this Part 1 (taken from the man's perspective) of the mini-series is 75 minutes (Part 2 is from the woman's perspective); this film is now in public domain, and there are some cheap versions available, which are a little washed out in color.