V.I.P.’S The (1963): Anthony Asquith’s Adventure-Melodrama, Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Margaret Rutherford in Oscar-Winning Performance

An all-star cast camouflages this routinely plotted but highly enjoyable adventure-melodrama, directed by Anthony Asquith (who had done better in the past) and scripted by playwright Terence Rattigan (“Separate Tables”), about a group of diverse passengers stranded at a London airport during a fog.

Better known for her Agatha Christie film series, “Miss Marple,” Margaret Rutherford shines as the Duchess of Brighton, a dandy and dotty old woman. She’s traveling to Miami to be a hotel hostess and make enough to keep her stately home in England–it’s her first time on a plane

Deservedly winning the Supporting Actress Oscar, Rutherford practically steals the picture from the other stars, who include Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (Hollywood’s hottest couple, right after the scandalous “Cleopatra), Maggie Smith, Louis Jordan, Elsa Martinelli, Linda Christian, Robert Coote and David Frost.

Oscar Alert

In 1963, Margaret Rutherford competed for the Supporting Actress Oscar with Lilia Skala in “Lilies of the Field,” for which Sidney Poitier won the Best Actor Oscar, and no less than three other British actresses, all nominated for “Tom Jones”: Diane Cilento, Dame Edith Evans, and Joyce Redman.

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