I’ve never liked Elizabeth Taylor‘s coarse, braying performance as Martha in Mike Nichols‘ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff (’66). I always felt she was playing a charicature of a vulgar, bitter alcoholic rather than really letting that misery into her soul. But I’ve watched this film time and again, and the reason (apart from those amusing, inventive performances from Richard Burton and George Segal) is Edward Albee‘s scalding dialogue. Albee died today at age 88 — due respect and condolences, but I have another complaint. I always thought it was absurd to invite guests over at 12:30 or 1 am to start with. Not to mention drinking yourselves into oblivion while everyone’s flaws and foibles are exposed and picked away at, and refusing to end this torture until dawn. Albee got at the fact that back in the early ’60s people of modest accomplishment hated themselves a lot more than they were willing to admit — a significant disclosure at the time.