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Saturday May 18th 2024

Boom! | 1968

Boom film location: Isola Piana, Capo Caccia, Sardinia
Boom film location: Isola Piana, Capo Caccia, Sardinia | Photograph: Sardinia Tourism

A minor Tennessee Williams play, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, customised to become a vastly expensive Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton vehicle. It was a total clunker at the time – but times change and maybe it’s due for a reappraisal?

A young and beautiful Angel of Death (Burton, who was 43) visits the rich and ageing Sissy Goforth (Taylor, erm , 32) in a what looks like Sixties art gallery perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, where Noël Coward (in a bitchy, gossipy role written for a woman) pops in to dish dirt.

The house was purpose-built on Isola Piana, a small island with high limestone cliffs just off Capo Caccia, northwest Sardinia. The set’s foundations are still visible. Disruption of the natural environment raised criticism at the time, but the area Is now protected and not easily accessible.

Perverse to the end, Tennessee Williams considered it the most perfect filming of one of his plays. Which prompts the question, what was he on when he saw it?

Halfway between Italy and North Africa, Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and an autonomous region of Italy. It’s accessible by ferry from Italian coastal cities such as Genoa, Fiumicino and Naples, or from Sicily.

Part of the 1977 Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me was filmed on Sardinia.