The Liv versus Liz show dominated the Cannes Film Festival last night.
By a bizarre - and perhaps cruel - coincidence the girl they are calling the "new
Elizabeth Taylor" was competing with the 64-year-old original.
It was better than any movie and generated the kind of excitement the Festival had
been waiting for. While Liv Tyler, the 19-year-old star of Bernardo Bertolucci's
Stealing Beauty climbed the steps of the Palais des Festivals for the screening, Liz
Taylor was a few miles away in the village of Mougins presiding over a banquet to
raise money for Aids research.
Young Liv, it has been noted, has all the attributes Liz had when she rose to stardom
in National Velvet. She has black hair, violet eyes, pink and white skin, together with
a formidable acting talent and reputedly, the longest legs in the business.
Female stars have been rather lacking in Cannes, although Liv Tyler's haunting face
has been visible on posters everywhere. Last night she arrived in person with the
Italian director and her co-star Jeremy Irons on each arm.
Meanwhile, Liz Taylor at her £2,000-a-head dinner had Hugh Grant and Cher for
moral support. She dazzled as brightly as ever - a testament to the make-up artist's
skill. Earlier, cameras caught her unawares as she walked her dog in Nice: a tousled,
Paris Match magazine was one of the first to seize on the contrast: "It's the duel for
the throne of Hollywood", it said. "The advantage of smooth skin against the handicap of the facelift".
Those who hoped to see the two women face to face were disappointed. The festival
organisers made sure they would not meet, at least not in public.
As for young Liv, daughter of Steve Tyler, of the rock group Aerosmith, she was
nonchalant about the comparison:
"It's cool to be compared to her, but honestly who gives a damn".