The Sandpiper

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A free-spirited single mother forms a connection with the wedded headmaster of an Episcopalian boarding school in Monterey, California.

ACTORS :  Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Eva Marie Saint

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1965

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The Sandpiper Twenty-something Laura Reynolds (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) is a free spirit who questions social conventions, laws, and regulations. A struggling artist, she lives in a secluded beach-side cabin in Big Sur with her nine-year-old illegitimate son, Danny (Morgan Mason), on who she has instilled her values. Because of this questioning of convention, Laura has decided to home school Danny. Also because of this questioning of the law, Danny runs into some legal problems, and as such is court ordered to be sent to San Simeon, a Christian school in Monterey, California. This order is against Laura’s wishes. The Sandpiper  The school’s headmaster is Dr. Reverend Edward Hewitt (Richard Burton), who tries to convince Laura that San Simeon is not the prison she probably believes it to be. Married for twenty-one years to his faithful wife Claire (Eva Marie Saint), Edward has become more a fund-raiser at all cost (for a new chapel) rather than an educator or Priest. Despite their differences, Laura and Edward begin…

This is vintage 60’s Hollywood fluff, but it’s great fluff.

The Sandpiper  Ok, I admit it. I have a guilty affection for this film. It’s silly and shallow, but it’s got a great performance by Richard Burton, and a pretty good one by Elizabeth Taylor. It’s also gorgeously filmed in Big Sur country, and has an evocative soundtrack. “The Sandpiper” was filmed at the height of the Burton/Taylor mania. Richard plays a minister who runs an exclusive boys academy, and Liz plays the free-thinking artist mother who’s son (Morgan Mason, James Mason’s son) does some deer hunting out of season. The boy is sentenced to Burton’s school to be saved from his mother’s beatnik influence, and as the boy settles into life at the boarding school, Liz falls in love with the married minister Burton. They have a torrid affair, afternoons along the surf, etc., until a jealous colleague of Burton’s blows the whistle on the pair. Corny, but I still love the movie. The Sandpiper

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