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How ‘What A Dump!” Became a Thing

How ‘What A Dump!” Became a Thing
BETTE DAVIS and ELIZABETH TAYLOR

"Old age is no place for sissies." - Bette Davis

If you’ve ever seen the motion picture ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?’ (it’s incredibly intense and amazing so check it out if you haven’t) you may recall Elizabeth Taylor’s imitation of Bette Davis saying “What A Dump!”, a line from ‘The Petrified Forest.’ ‘The Petrified Forest,’ a 1936 American film directed by Archie Mayo, was based on Robert E. Sherwood's 1935 Broadway drama of the same name.

So what did those two immortal stars have to say about one another? This video won’t give you much insight into that but does provide Bette Davis’ explanation as to why “What a dump!” became Davis’ most famous line, repeated by an endless number of drag queens around the world after Taylor made the expression more theatrical.

The Guardian had this to say about Liz Taylor: “In Edward Albee's and Mike Nichols's 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', [she was] a defiant wreck out of the true heartland of American tragedy. She had the range, nerve and instinct that only Bette Davis had had before – and like Davis, Taylor was monster and empress, sweetheart and scold, idiot and wise woman. We went in awe of her, but with one word or a knowing smile she assured us she was one of us. So beautiful, she could go crazy, too – and then move on.”

In 1977, Davis became the first woman to receive the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award. On November 8, 1981 at Filmex’s "An Evening With Elizabeth Taylor”, Bette Davis was the surprise guest of the evening who introduced Ms. Taylor.

 

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How ‘What A Dump!” Became a Thing
BETTE DAVIS and ELIZABETH TAYLOR

"Big girls need big diamonds" - Liz Taylor

 

 

 


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