One might consider Elizabeth Taylor’s body of work in the 1950s and 1960s as a single, long-running melodrama about American life (of which her own participation in “real life” in various romantic scandals formed a subplot). No single work stands out as brilliantly insightful or entirely successful, but watching the various movies gives one a picture—granted, a one-sided and distorted, overly “psychological,” picture (i.e., it is missing the real driving forces in economic and social life)—of a society.
The inhabitants of this social universe are lively and not afraid to express themselves, or reticent to complain, but they are beset by corruption, greed, anxiety, conformism, racism, phony piety, status seeking, unsatisfying and corrosive personal relations. And they respond, in the only fashion apparently open to—or permitted—them, with extravagant and disordered personal behavior for the most part: alcoholism, various addictions, sexual promiscuity, escape into fantasy, violence, even madness. If the portrait is not a happy or entirely coherent one, the fault doesn’t lie with the films or filmmakers, or leading performers such as Elizabeth Taylor, but with the social order itself.
That's from David Walsh's "Elizabeth Taylor and the melodrama of American life in the 1950s and 1960s" (WSWS). I found it to be an interesting overview of Taylor's career and agreed with much of it.
However, -- Yes, I have a however.
I find it real hard to believe that if WSWS had been around (maybe it was) in the 1970s. It was. It's been around since 1938. Sadly the online archives only go back to 1998.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"