Made principally to cash in on the Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor romance – the movie raced Cleopatra into the cinemas – this is a glossy, but tedious drama set in the VIP lounge of the then London Airport.
A group of mismatched jet-setters simmer in an emotional pressure-cooker as fog and bad weather forces an unscheduled overnight stay.
Elizabeth Taylor is jilting billionaire husband Richard Burton for gigolo Louis Jourdan because he “needs” her and Burton apparently doesn’t.
Only Margaret Rutherford’s deliriously dotty, Oscar-winning duchess and Orson Welles’ movie mogul fleeing the taxman breathe life into the bottomless pit of clichés. Other celebrities on view include Maggie Smith and even David Frost.
The screenplay – which MGM originally called International Hotel – is by Terence Rattigan, perhaps the most prestigious British playwright since Noël Coward, whose later career was to suffer at the hands of John Osborne and other “angry young men” of the British theatre.
Duchess of Brighton