Elizabeth Taylor in London

Elizabeth Taylor in London was a CBS-TV television special broadcast on 6 October 1963 that was directed by Sidney Smith and co-produced by Philip D'Antoni and Norman Baer. The 58 minute show featured Elizabeth Taylor being filmed in various parts of London, England such as Westminster Bridge, Battersea Park, the House of Parliament of the United Kingdom and a London Blitz bomb damaged church in the East End of London reminiscing about her birthplace and reciting several famous English poems and speeches including-

  • Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 by William Wordsworth
  • How Do I Love Thee? from Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barret Browning
  • William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham's 18 November 1777 speech on the American Revolution ("If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms — never — never — never! You cannot conquer America").
  • Queen Elizabeth I's Speech to the Troops at Tilbury
  • An excerpt from Queen Victoria's diary concerning the death of Prince Alfred
  • The "London can take anything" speech of Winston Churchill

The music was composed by John Barry (composer) who was nominated for a 1964 Grammy award for Outstanding Original Music. The original album has been rereleased on CD with many of the tracks available in the public domain on various John Barry collections. Greensleeves occurs throughout the score.

In addition to showcasing Elizabeth Taylor at the height of her popularity, the show informed Americans of English history and London locations. Richard Burton coached Taylor on her delivery of the speeches.

Miss Taylor was paid US$250,000 then the highest price ever paid for a person to be on television. The BBC paid US$28,000 for broadcast rights to be shown near Christmas. However television critic Anthony Burgess gave the show a scathing review calling it "the most deplorable programme of the year".

The success of the show led to the same team doing a Sophia Loren in Rome television show.

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