George Segal, Elizabeth Taylor, Sandy Dennis, and Robert Burton on the set of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, dir. Mike Nichols) (photo by Bob Willoughby)
On the struggle to get Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a milestone in cinematic cussing, past the censors:
“Disguising profanity with clean but suggestive phrases is really dirtier. It reminded me of an old Gary Cooper movie when somebody said, ‘He’s so poor he hasn’t got a pot to put flowers in.’ Everybody in the audience got what was intended: echoes of wild talk, it seems to me, are deliberately titillating. People do certain things in bed we all know they do, and people say things to each other that we have all heard.
The whole point of the sexual revolution that’s happening today is to let those things take their place and then go back into proportion. We feel the language in Woolf is essential to the fabric; it reveals who the people are and how they lived.”
-Mike Nichols, 1966