Good Music + Good Set = A Success

†††††††† When it comes to producing a film, one must think of every detail as the most important, in order for it to be a success. Without this careful detail, the movie would be a flop. In my opinion, the movie The Heiress, directed in 1949 by William Wyler and based on Henry Jamesís 1880 Washington Square, displayed great examples of music, costumes and set.

†††††††† The music of The Heiress, scored by Aaron Copland, was very well done. In the opening scene, it was very soft and welcoming. At the same time it was not so loud and overbearing that one could not read the credits or have ringing in oneís ears for the rest of the movie.

†††††††† At the party, the music was very fitting; happy and uplifting, yet not so loud that one could not hear the actors talking. It would get a little louder when only dancing was taking place, then got softer once people started to talk.

†††††††† The music also followed the emotions of the people very well. When it a character got excited, violins played in the background; whether they were happy or anxious, the violins went with the tone at the moment. Or when a sad or bad part came about, low bass made the one sense that something was not right. All in all the music complemented the movie well.

†††††††† In addition to the music, I thought that the sets, props, and costumes were done very well. The family was very wealthy, living in the upper class society. From the first scene in the movie, one would be able to tell this by an open shot of the neighborhood; very clean cut, town houses with horse and buggy parked outside with a nice view of a beautiful park across the street, Washington Square.

†††††††† Once inside the house, lavish wallpaper and crystal sconces covered the walls. Elaborate chandeliers hung from every room of the house. Maids were at beck and call to every member of the household. Gold embellishments accented the plates, cups and servers. All of these little details notified the viewer that these people were very wealthy.

†††††††† The lavish costumes worn were also a sign of wealth. No one went around wearing rags or dresses with holes; everything was very elaborate and elegant, including Catherineís (Olivia de Havilland) red dress worn for the party and her white dress worn for the August heat, when she meets Morris (Montgomery Clift) again. References to packages coming from France were also hints that the family was wealthy.

†††††††† Other little details included three-month trips to Europe, costly cigars, expensive liquor, elegant dinner parties with a band, and several mentions of Catherineís inheritance, all of which inform the viewers that this family is wealthy.

†††††††† With these two elements the movie was great. It is very important to pay attention to detail; otherwise the producerís creditably goes out the window; and no one will really want to watch your movie.

Ashley Stensland

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