Staff DVD Review

The Heiress (DVD)
Paramount 1949

Based on the 1947 Broadway stage play by the same name, which in turn, was based on the 1880 Henry James novel “Washington Square.” The movie, set in 1849 New York, follows Catherine Slooper, (Olivia De Havilland) daughter of a prominent New York City surgeon, (Ralph Richardson) who blames his daughter for the death of his wife; who died in childbirth. Catherine, a plain, overly shy, awkward young woman is pursued and courted by Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift), a near-do well forutne hunter, who jilts her on the very evening they were to elope, when he learnes her father is planning to dis-inherit her.

Years later, he unexpectedly returns and this time she turns the tables on him, which dooms her to a life of comfortable yet lonely spinsterhood. Her wealth was a motivinating factor but, did Morris actually have legitimate feelings for Catherine? Watch the movie and you decide!

Henry James used a contemporary, real life scandal on which he based his novel.

 

– Rei B

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