The Heiress

views updated

The Heiress ★★★½ 1949

Based on the Henry James novel “Washington Square.” Catherine (de Havilland) is the plain, awkward daughter of wealthy widowed doctor Austin Sloper (Richardson), who is a belittling tyrant to his only child. Catherine has no suitors until handsome, fortune-seeking Morris Townsend (Clift) approaches her. Naturally, Dr. Sloper dismisses his interest and warns that his daughter will only end up with a broken heart. No happy endings here but the performances are superb. Remade as “Washington Square” in 1997. 115m/B VHS, DVD . Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, Miriam Hopkins, Vanessa Brown, Mona Freeman, Ray Collins, Selena Royle; D: William Wyler; W: Ruth Goetz, Augustus Goetz; C: Leo Tover; M: Aaron Copland. Oscars ‘49: Actress (de Havilland), Art Dir./Set Dec., B&W, Costume Des. (B&W), Orig. Dramatic Score; Golden Globes ‘50: Actress—Drama (de Havilland); Natl. Bd. of Review ‘49: Actor (Richardson), Natl. Film Reg. ‘96;; N.Y. Film Critics ‘49: Actress (de Havilland).