Elizabeth Taylor's connection to the Inklings

As we all know, Elizabeth Taylor died yesterday, perhaps a good time to remember her connection with one of the Inklings.

Richard Jenkins won a scholarship to the University of Oxford at just 16; he adopted his teacher's surname (Phillip Burton) and made his first stage performance in Oxford as an extra, scrubbing steps. Soon Burton's extraordinary stage presence - one of his famous trademarks - was said to distract the audience from the Shakespearean play! However, his studies at Oxford lasted only six months 1942-3.

Much later in his career, Burton co-directed (along with Inkling Neville Coghill) a labour of love that records a performance given by Burton at Oxford University in 1966 of Christopher Marlowe's 400-year-old verse play. Burton plays Faust, a medieval doctor who sells his soul to Mephistopheles in exchange for mastering all human knowledge. The Devil tempts Faust at every turn by confronting him with the seven deadly sins, and with Helen of Troy (Elizabeth Taylor), who appears throughout the film in various stages of undress.

The production was filmed in Rome, with the majority of the cast amateur actors from the University of Oxford. (I understand that a video of the movie can still be obtained).

Very interesting man Coghill...

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