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The V.I.P.s, also known as Hotel International, is a 1963 MGM drama film. It was directed by Anthony Asquith, produced by Anatole de Grunwald and written by Terence Rattigan, with a music score by Miklós Rózsa. The film has an all-star cast including Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Louis Jourdan, Elsa Martinelli, Maggie Smith, Rod Taylor, Orson Welles and Margaret Rutherford, who won both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe in the same category.

Plot

The film is set at a Londonmarker airport during a fog. As flights are delayed, the VIPs (very important people) of the title play out the drama of their lives in a number of slightly interconnected stories. The delays have caused serious hardship for most of the characters and have plunged some of them into a deep personal or financial crisis.

The central story concerns famed actress Frances Andros trying to leave her husband, millionaire Paul Andros, and fly away with her lover Marc Champselle. Because of the fog, Andros has the opportunity to come to the airport to convince his wife not to leave him.

Film producer Max Buda needs to leave London, taking his newest protégée Gloria Gritti with him, by midnight if he is to avoid paying a hefty tax bill. The Duchess of Brighton, meanwhile, is on her way to Florida to take a job which will pay her enough money to save her historic home.

Les Mangrum, an Australian businessman, must get to New York to prevent his business from being sold. His dutiful secretary, Miss Mead, is secretly in love with him. It being a matter of great urgency, she decides to approach Andros and ask him to advance the money which will save Mangrum's company.

Background and production

According to the playwright Terence Rattigan, who wrote the screenplay, this is based on the true story of Vivien Leigh's attempt to leave her husband Laurence Olivier and fly off with her lover Peter Finch, only to be delayed by a fog at Heathrow.

The team of director Asquith, producer De Grunwald, and writer Rattigan were to produce another portmanteau film the following year entitled The Yellow Rolls-Royce.

Stringer Davis, husband of Margaret Rutherford, plays "Mr. Stringer," a tiny role as a sympathetic hotel waiter in a scene with Rutherford.

Raymond Austin, a stuntman and a friend of Burton's, appears in the film as Andros's driver.

Television personality David Frost portrays a reporter interviewing the V.I.P.s at the airport.

Reaction

Critical reaction to the film was generally poor. It nevertheless did extremely well at the box office, helped by the enormous publicity attached to the Burtons' previous film, Cleopatra.

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