The Actors Made the Movie

        William Wyler has done it again. The Heiress, which is his 1949 rendition of the 1880 novel Washington Square, by Henry James, was more than I could have ever pictured after reading the book. This movie was well planned out, and it gave far more than anticipated. The characters were what made this film, from the beginning to the end; they were the standing structure of the movie. They were acted out so well that it just really sucked me in. The Heiress was an excellent movie, and I would highly recommend it to movie lovers.

        The first notable mention of this movie, and by far the best, was the amazing portrayal of the character Catherine Sloper, played by Olivia de Havilland. Catherine was a shy, plain, young rich girl who was brought up in the wealthy neighborhood of Washington Square, New York. Not only was she acted out in a very profound manner, but also she also made me laugh with her cute remarks and her total innocence. Olivia de Havilland made Catherine into this beautiful, shy young lady who was very easy to like. Towards the end Catherine lost her shyness and became a strong woman. A strong woman like this could be considered quite a role model in today’s world. Olivia de Havilland is who made this movie; she was amazing.

        The handsome, confident, outgoing character of Morris Townsend, depicted by Montgomery Clift, was also a great addition to this movie. Morris was seeking a fortune, which he found by means of Catherine. Morris, using his good looks and charm, swayed Catherine into believing that they were soul mates basically. Morris was exactly how I thought he would be from the book; the casting in this movie is still blowing my mind. Montgomery Clift really grabbed this character and turned him into a well spoken, sneaky individual. Towards the end of the movie most people would not have liked Morris too well, but I somewhat felt sorry for him after what happened. Morris was a perfect edition to an already great story.

        The final character I want to talk about is that of Dr. Austin Sloper, portrayed by Ralph Richardson. Dr. Sloper was a man of fine taste, and admirable manors. With all of his great qualities, being a father was not what he was best at. Some points in the movie it seemed as if he was trying to look after Catherine, but he would throw in insults that contradicted the thought of such fatherhood. He almost seemed ashamed of his own daughter, because she was not the same as her mother. He basically referred to Catherine’s mother as “perfect,” which left Catherine on an endless hunt to please her father the way her Mother once did. Ralph Richardson is a superb actor, and his portrayal of Dr. Sloper was flawless.

        The Heiress did not have an extreme amount of characters, but the characters that were involved in the film were more than enough to satisfy. Characters are a big deal in films, as well as in literature; in this case the characters were perfect. Fulfilling roles in films can be very hard work for actors, but the cast members in this movie really did their job the way that their job should be done. This movie was very emotional, and through this emotion the movie gained so much power. This is a worthy picture for anyone to witness

Shaun Brown