Money Love or Looks

         After reading Henry James’s 1880 novel Washington Square, I was particularly excited to see the film adaptation. It was a cold, rainy night when class met, and this was the perfect atmosphere to get you in the mood for a film set in Old New York. The 1949 movie had a personality that in my opinion redefined the characters, but in a way that gave you a way to connect with the drama better than in the book. So, without further ado, here is what I experienced when viewing the film.

         The Heiress, directed by William Wyler was a quaint, yet confusing emotional presentation of a wealthy heiress played by Olivia De Havilland, who finds a suitor that not only her father dislikes, but also a man whose primary motive is to exploit the young gal for all she is worth, which just happens to be quite a bit. Motgomery Clift, who plays Morris the suitor, was the perfect pick for a deviant gold digger. It was perfect characterization mostly, in my opinion, because here is a terribly handsome man pursuing a frumpy, mousy woman. I myself could not help but having a crush on the charming air that Morris’s character presented.

         DeHavilland's Catherine, on the other hand, was overshadowed by Clift’s Morris’s grace. She failed to give an extra pizzazz to her lines, and for the most part seemed over-eager in most of the scenes. While I know this was the intention of the character, I felt that she could have been submissive without being so melodramatic. The other characters diluted her drama, such as Aunt Lavinia (Miriam Hopkins). She was perfect. By being so elusive and conniving, she made up for Catherine’s mistakes and really made you interested in the story.

         Beautiful setting, and appropriate time placement made this film a joy to watch. The cinematography was interesting because of the unique use of camera angles. Overall I would recommend this for others, but not without a rainy, cold night on which to view it.

Lauren Taylor