{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252\deff0\deflang1033{\fonttbl{\f0\fnil\fcharset0 Courier New;}{\f1\fswiss\fcharset0 Arial;}} {\*\generator Msftedit;}\viewkind4\uc1\pard\f0\fs20 Could Elizabeth Taylor act? David Thomson counters the conventional wisdom that Elizabeth Taylor was woeful in her first Oscar-winning performance in BUtterfield 8 and almost miraculously deserving of her second, for Virginia Woolf. For Thomson, these two limited but film-sustaining turns are comparable in quality, differing importantly only insofar as they capture two totally different senses of what Liz understood "acting" to involve: the limited but sublimely screen-specific two-dimensionality of the last unpolluted movie star, seemingly made of the silver screen, and her post-Burton taste for what struck her, errantly or not, as tricky and "sophisticated" material, requiring lots of studied character work and a self-conscious provisioning of effects to her impersonations. What Thompson regrets in Woolf, even if Taylor's Martha is a "better" piece of acting than her Gloria Wandrous, is that never again would Liz embody the prelapsarian state of an idealized being, in a subsequent career, halting and egg-faced though it turned out to be, of somewhat ostentatiously doing.\par \f1\par }