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The Driver's Seat
The Driver's Seat
Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Ian Bannen, Andy Warhol
Director: Giuseppe Patroni
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2003     1hr 45min

A schizophrenic beautiful spinster travels from her home in London to Rome, on a twisted agenda to find romance with any man, whom she hopes will eventually murder her. Elizabeth Taylor is one of the most beautiful and exc...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Ian Bannen, Andy Warhol
Director: Giuseppe Patroni
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Miracle Pictures
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/28/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

Love me to death
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 07/28/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In Euro-made THE DRIVER'S SEAT, Elizabeth Taylor plays an unmarried woman on a quest for her own private Kevorkian. Oddball Andy Warhol cameos here as an oddball Lord/diplomat.

The highly neurotic Lise (Taylor) arrives in Rome on a mandatory vacation and seeks out in the city's seamier districts a mate willing to love her and leave her... DEAD. Lise desires to be ceremoniously bound and then murdered with a knife. From appearances alone this woman is clearly unbalanced: smeared mascara, a max-tacky wardrobe and wild behavior are an attempt to stand out from the crowd as well as her desperate cry for help.

Macabre atmosphere captured through skilled cinematography, sets and lighting amply give a sense of the insanity that haunt's Lise's conscience. The obvious semi-deranged self-absorption of this character is wonderfully conveyed by Liz in one of her least remembered yet most-difficult roles.

If you're seeking typical popcorn fare you'd do best to try elsewhere, but if a logic-challenging movie with an offbeat performance by one of Hollywood's greats is your goal, then look no further-- cuz you've found it!

Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 viewer poll rating found at a film resource website.

(5.5) The Driver's Seat (Italy-1974) - Elizabeth Taylor/Ian Bannen/Guido Mannari/Mona Washbourne/Luigi Squarzina/Andy Warhol"
Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 09/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""It takes one day to dye, another to be born..." Elizabeth Taylor reportedly said those words to her director Griffi when she came on the set the day after she left Burton for their first divorce. So with that mindset she went to work on one of her most unusual, daring and controversial films. From the moment "The Diver's Seat" begins you know you are in a strange place. In Europe the movie was called "Idendikit" so, with two names tagged to it thus making it schizophrenic from the first it easily falls into the realm of the ambiguous art film genre of the late 60's and early 70's.
It's star, Elizabeth Taylor, appears here in one of her most remote and dangerous roles. She plays Lise a woman who is consumed by insanity and the desire to find the ultimate lover, the be all and end all of boyfriends you might say.
As the film opens you are presented with a shattered view of a woman on the edge of something terrible. The camera moves past bald mannequins in a disjointed way. Is this Lise's view of others or is it a reflection of her ultimate fate? Upon being told to take a holiday from work after causing a scene in the office the film opens with her preparations to take flight to Rome. The film jump cuts from past to present as the police in Rome try to reconstruct her final fatal holiday in terrorist gripped Rome. Even Rome comes off as off kilter. This is not the Rome of Audrey Hepburn or Marcello Mastroianni but a city one hardly recognizes from the lack of typical filming locations one associates with "Made In Rome!" movies.
Director Giuseppe Patroni Griffi succeeds in presenting a uniquely Italian cinema verite film of the Muriel Spark novel. This is a unique film and very much of it's day. Its non-linear, experimental, almost documentary style will be hard to get into for any one not used to movies of this sort. But it is well worth the effort. So strange and challenging a film it is that it left the opening night audience at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival in stunned silence.
The cast is well chosen and gives some oddly memorable performances. Ian Bannan as the macrobiotic sex-nut who tires to pick up Lise on the plane to Rome seems almost as mad as she is. It is a wickedly off kilter wild-eyed performance. The charming and always wonderful Mona Washbourne is sweetly touching as the woman who befriends the mad Lise and in doing so leads her to meet the man of her dreams.
But the glue that holds it all together is provided by Miss Taylor who tops off her short list of insane characters from Susanna Drake to Catherine Holly with this daring and shocking portrait of Lise. She opens up as an actress that at the time would have been unthinkable to most of her contemporaries from the old M.G.M. days. That's one of the wonderful things about her film career. She came from an era in old Hollywood where she was trained and groomed to be glossy and perfect. But as times changed so did she and in doing so became much more than an MGM glamour girl, she became an actress with guts. In "The Driver's Seat" she shows her chops as an actress and her willingness to accept challenges in her roles and in Lise she found a great one. One stunning image of her is when in her loud madwoman dress and raccoon painted eyes she challenges the airport security to frisk her. In that scene she seems totally there, totally gone, and totally in control as an actress."
L. Ross | 02/23/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Of course few would really appreciate this film. It's too BRILLIANT. It's too much ART. Not bland enough for the average film viewer. Elizabeth Taylor is a freaking genius. You cannot believe it's HER in this film. She plays the most mentally disturbed woman with such genius. There is a scene where she checks herself out in a mirror, one of my favorite scenes just because it was done so deftly and perfectly. No one else could act as brilliantly as Elizabeth does in this entire bizarre film. You have to be CONSCIOUS of the fact that Elizabeth is ACTING to really appreciate the job she does here. All the mannerisms, the look in her eyes, her facial expressions...I don't know how she managed to look and act so insane without over-acting as most other actors would have done. The fact she did not over-act it, the fact she did such a strange job of it shows her immense talent. There will never be another Elizabeth Taylor. Her best films are mentioned the LEAST often...if I ever hear another mention "Father Of The Bride" again I will throw up. And that's what you will get after Elizabeth passes away...nothing but tributes that mention all the same films over and over.... but if you want her at her most brilliant, see THIS film, and see "Night Watch", and she was lovely in "Boom" , she was fascinating in "Secret Ceremony" {and the ending of that movie was excellent,as a creep played by Robert Mitchum got what he deserved}. This film is disturbing but SO WHAT, its one of the most amazing jobs of acting I have ever seen, or will ever see. Its so underrated I could scream. Just look at Elizabeth's face on the cover ! She NAILED IT."
A terrible film, but well worth watching
Cody K. | Jamokidence, Rhode Island, USA | 01/29/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

""The Driver's Seat" (a/k/a "Identikit") is indeed every bit as bad as adorian says it is -- but it's still well worth a viewing. From the remarkably pretentious opening titles, which position it as an "art" film from the outset, through the attenuated, almost hallucinatory progress of the movie, it's a spectacle of sorts that gives the impression of Liz and a few of her moneyed friends just sort of doing a project together while on vacation -- a vacation in hell, soaked in alcohol and stuffed with drugs.

Elizabeth Taylor is naturally the main course in the film, and without her it would be nothing. From her first tirade in a dress shop because she DOESN'T WANT STAIN-PROOF FABRIC!!! through her absurd misadventures in attempting to find a man who'll kill her, she's just a perfect portrait of a sour, damaged woman with a bad case of terminal ennui. Interest comes from outside the film as the viewer inevitably marvels that this is the same Taylor who'd a decade earlier been one of the brightest stars of the 20th century in National Velvet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cleopatra, and so on. The whole thing's a train wreck, and the more so because it's hard to watch it without seeing Taylor and wondering if the wretchedness she portrays might have a lot to do with the conditions of her real life at the moment. Certainly there's a limpid vacancy in her character that doesn't always seem like acting; she just sort of floats through most scenes like a zombie.

There's nothing particularly redeeming in the story, or her character, or any other aspect of the film, although there's sort of a feeling about it overall that links it to the cheesiness of 70's porn and the offhand "underground" films of Paul Morrisey (under the aegis of Warhol, whose momentary and pointless appearance here underscores this). It's at most a lurid period piece, and at least a chapter in the filmic "biography" of one of Hollywood's great, but ultimately all-too-human icons.

As a strange, dark artifact, and considering its low price on DVD, I think it's well worth seeing."