Under Milk Wood | 1972 | Richard Burton Elizabeth Taylor

Unwise physical materialisation of a play for voices. Made corporeal – and what’s more, tarted up in vulgar Technicolor – Bible black nights don’t possess the leathery lustre they had on the radio, and Polly Garter is Elizabeth Taylor, too exotic and fingermarked a creature for the little village of Llareggub to contain.

For a clue to how much of the spirit of the original is maintained in Sinclair’s literalization, spell the name of the setting backwards. It’s a much better movie if you sit back and shut your eyes.

Under Milk Wood was Andrew Sinclair’s first film and he was able to sign up Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to the project with the help of O’Toole, Sinclair’s long-term friend. Burton and Taylor were paid £10,000 each. Elizabeth Taylor was only available for three days of filming, which at her request took place in London. At £600, her three dresses took up half of the costume budget. It was the only film in which Burton, Taylor and O’Toole appeared together. It was shot on various locations in Wales.

Richard Burton as First Man
Elizabeth Taylor as Rosie Probert
Peter O’Toole as Captain Tom Cat
Glynis Johns as Myfanwy Price
Vivien Merchant as Mrs. Pugh
Siân Phillips as Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard
Victor Spinetti as Mog Edwards
Angharad Rees as Gossamer Beynon
Ray Smith as Mr Waldo
Ann Beach as Polly Garter
Michael Forrest as Sinbad Sailor
Glynn Edwards as Mr Cherry Owen
Bridget Turner as Mrs Cherry Owen
Talfryn Thomas as Mr Pugh
Tim Wylton as Mr Willy Nilly
Bronwen Williams as Mrs Willy Nilly
Meg Wynn Owen as Lily Smalls
Hubert Rees as Butcher Benyon
Aubrey Richards as Rev Eli Jenkins
Mark Jones as Evans the Death
Dillwyn Owen as Mr Ogmore
Richard Davies as Mr Pritchard
David Jason as Nogood Boyo
Davyd Harries as PC Attila Rees
David Davies as Utah Watkins
Maudie Edwards as Mrs Utah Watkins
Peggy Ann Clifford as Bessie Bighead
Dudley Jones as Dai Bread
Margaret Courtenay as Waldo Wife Three
Jill Britton as Mrs Rose Cottage
Griffith Davies as Ocky Milkman
Dafydd Havard as Lord Cut Glass
Rhoda Lewis as Waldo Wife Four
Eira Griffiths as Waldo Wife Two
Andree Gaydon as Waldo Wife One
Ruth Madoc as Mrs Dai Bread Two
Dorothea Phillips as Mrs Dai Bread One
Susan Penhaligon as Mae Rose Cottage
Paul Grist as Tom Fred
Janet Davies as Woman
Pamela Miles as Waldo Wife Five
Mary Jones as Mrs Benyon
Maia Newley as Bethan
Olwen Rees as Gwennie
John Rees as Jack Black

Writer and Director: Andrew Sinclair
Radio Play: Dylan Thomas

UK | 88 minutes | 1972


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