Late movie legend Richard Burton vowed to stay sober while making classic movie Under Milk Wood by limiting his drinking to only one bottle of vodka a day.

The Welsh actor, who was a hardened drinker, appeared in the 1972 film opposite his on/off wife, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter O'Toole, and the film's director has opened up about the making of the movie in a book called Down Under Milk Wood.

In the tome, Sinclair reveals the difficulties he faced as he attempted to gather three of Hollywood's biggest names together, describing it as like "fixing a weekend between Howard Hughes, Queen Elizabeth Ii and Puck".

The moviemaker also claims Burton promised to cut down his booze intake while making the movie, adding, "'I am not drinking on your film,' he told me. 'That means only one bottle of vodka a day. I'm sober on two, but when I'm drinking it is three or more.'"

In the book, Sinclair also details Taylor's outrageous demands, including three special French nightgowns which swallowed up 50 per cent of the project's costume budget and her refusal to travel to the Welsh town of Fishguard for filming on location. Her scenes were shot separately at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England.

Sinclair also claims Taylor refused to perform on one of her scheduled filming days, so O'Toole took her out to lunch, plied her with alcohol and then held her up as she drunkenly read her lines in front of the camera.