Friday, July 7, 2017

The Heiress 1949

     The setting of this film is mid-1800 and it’s based on a stage play.  Dr. Austin Sloper is very wealthy and he has an adult daughter Catherine.  His recently widowed sister Lavinia Penniman lives with them in their opulent house at 16 Washington Square, New York City.  Catherine is a disappointment to Dr. Sloper.  He has paid for her to learn all the social graces but she is plain, simple, awkward and extremely shy.  She spends all her free time doing embroidery except for doting time on her father.  Dr. Sloper often thinks back to the beauty and poise of his late wife.  Dr. Sloper hopes that Lavinia will be able to pass something good onto Catherine.  He also hopes this will help her meet someone to marry.  Catherine meets Morris Townsend at a party and he seems very attentive.
     Dr. Sloper believes Morris is only interested in the money Catherine will inherit when he dies!!  Currently, she will receive $30,000 pounds a year when he dies.  But, he believes he will reduce this in his will and she will receive only $10,000 pounds a year if she marries Morris.  Catherine believes Morris really loves her but they haven’t known each other very long.  Morris lives with his sister and he had some money but he spent it on himslef for travel.  I wasn’t sure what Morris intended and how he really felt??  3 ½*(I liked this movie)

115 min, Drama directed by William Wyler with Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, Miriam Hopkins, Vanessa Brown, Betty Linley, Ray Collins, Mona Freeman, Selena Royle, Paul Lees.

Note:  Imdb 8.3 out of 10, 100% critic 93% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, TCM Leonard Maltin 4* out of 4* user overall 4* out of 5*, Letterboxd 3.9* out of 5* with 1751 ratings.
Special Note:  Filmed at Paramount Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.  Montgomery Clift was unhappy with his performance and he walked out of the Premiere.  He also didn’t value the acting talents of De Havilland and he sneered at her.  Director William Wyler was a supporter of her in the lead.  Ralph Richardson as her father took every opportunity to steal scenes from de Havilland.  Basil Rathbone lamented in his autobiography that he did not get the role of Dr. Sloper.  Along with Rathbone, Errol Flynn would have played the role of Morris.  Cary Grant was also interested in the role of Morris but turned down by William Wyler.

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