Kudos to Catherine

     The 1949 movie The Heiress, based on the 1880 novel Washington Square, was a wonderful picture. It was directed by William Wyler and starred Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, and Ralph Richardson. The acting, directing, and script were a great combination.

     In The Heiress, Catherine becomes a much stronger woman than in Washington Square. It is so interesting to watch her develop from being this mealy-mouthed little nobody into a strong woman who does not need someone else to make her content. Olivia de Havilland does a wonderful job playing Catherine. One can watch the new Catherine taking over as one sees her face change, her eyes turn cold, and her hair style change to make her look more uptight. Olivia de Havilland certainly deserved the awards she got for the part. She played this part as I had wanted her to play the part of Melanie in Gone With the Wind. I kept screaming for Melanie to beat the stuffing out of Scarlett and shout: "Stay away from my husband and step back, because I'm taking over now." So it gave me great pleasure to watch Catherine evolve into the person she became. I almost felt bad about wanting her to become jaded and cold because she was such a sweet, naive girl; but watching the expression on Morris' face made it well worth the bitter transformation.

     Montgomery Clift also did a great job in The Heiress. He was so handsome and charming that if I had been Catherine I would have thought that he genuinely cared about me. The only time Morris' true colors shone through came when Catherine was not around him. Aunt Penniman (Miriam Hopkins) knew what was going on, but she let her romantic notions take over. Clift also did a fine job on the last scene when he is screaming and banging on the door; the look on his face is outstanding.

     Usually I do not like it when a movie strays far off from a novel, but that is not the case with The Heiress. Therefore, I say Kudos to Catherine for becoming the person she should have been in Washington Square.

April Russell

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