The Heiress (1950)
The Heiress Photos
as Catherine Sloper
as Morris Townsend
as Dr. Austin Sloper
as Lavinia Penniman
as Marian Almond
as Jefferson Almond
as Mrs. Mongomery
as Elizabeth Almond
as Arthur Townsend
as Mr. Abeel
Critic Reviews for The Heiress
The Heiress is a splendid job of recreating a century-old era and three characters thereof. William Wyler has made a fine film, avoiding the pitfalls of costume drama.
The Heiress (1949), as the theatrical poster declared, is "a truly great motion picture" - a bleak tale of crushed, heartbroken expectations and incisively-harsh retribution. The top-line, prestige production was directed by William Wyler...
The film works so well because those surging emotional currents, although often pushed just below the surface, give it a constant tension that draws you in like a thriller.
A deft psychological drama powered by superlative performances.
[A]n outstanding literary adaptation and a superb example of Hollywood fare at its most intelligent and sharply honed.
Audience Reviews for The Heiress
Outstanding production values and an overall sterling example of what a monumental team effort a good film truly is, from the bottom to the top, excellence abounds in this pre-Civil War depiction of a societal ugly duckling (who's not really ugly) who comes under the thrall of a dashing young swain. Monty Clift and Miriam Hopkins both deliver nuanced performances that sharpen the gist of the piece, and Ralph Richardson as the caring father blinded by grief is memorable, but Olivia DeHavilland's Oscar-winning performance as an innocent who discovers the corruption around her is indeed all around her is unforgettable. Hollywood in all its splendor, and that's meant in a good way.
Superlative version of the James novel sharpens and refines the book. Olivia, always a fine actress, gives one of her defining performances revealing the many layers of Catherine during her evolution from doormat to bruised and wary but empowered woman. Clift gives a sly performance, his natural beauty aiding in the belief that he could be a rake living off his looks. Sir Ralph Richardson is simply great as the thoughtlessly cruel father, hinting that in his own obtuse way he has no understanding of what he thinks of as protecting his daughter is actually crippling her and his malice towards her something he doesn't comprehend. Miriam Hopkins is perfectly cast as the flighty Aunt Penniman her fluttery gestures making her seem more vapid than she really is. Selena Royale is also fine as the other sister even though in a smaller role, she, Miriam and Richardson share a fantastic scene that clarifies the relationship of the entire family and his inability to see beyond his own view point no matter the cost. All their superior work would be for naught though were it not for Wylers sure handed direction that keeps the sometimes heavy dramatics feeling personal and involving.
This movie explores the question: is it better to be happily married to someone who just wants your money, or to live a lonely life and keep your millions? Most of the movie is annoying and boring, and I don't like their answer to the question.
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