The HeiressDirector: William Wyler, Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson
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Henry James based his 1881 novella Washington Square on a real-life incident, wherein a young actor of his acquaintance married an unattractive but very wealthy young woman for the express purpose of living the rest of his life in luxury. Washington Square was turned into a stage play in 1946 by Ruth and Augustus Goetz; this, in turn was adapted for the movies under the title The Heiress. Olivia DeHavilland won an Academy Award (her second) for her portrayal of Catherine Sloper, the plain-Jane daughter of wealthy widower Dr. Austin Sloper (Ralph Richardson). Catherine is not only unattractive, but lacks most of the social graces, thanks in great part to the domineering attitudes of her father. When Catherine falls in love with handsome young Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift), she is convinced that her love is reciprocated, else why would Morris be so affectionate towards her? Dr. Sloper sees things differently, correctly perceiving that Morris is a callow fortune hunter. Standing up to her father for the first time in her life, Catherine insists that she will elope with Morris; but when Dr. Sloper threatens to cut off her dowry, Morris disappears. Still, Catherine threatens to run off with the next young man who pays any attention to her; Sloper, belatedly realizing how much he has hurt his only child, arranges to leave her his entire fortune. Years pass: Morris returns, insisting that he'd only left because he didn't want to cause Catherine the "grief" of being disinherited. Seemingly touched by Morris' "sincerity," Catherine agrees to elope with him immediately. But when Morris arrives at the appointed hour, he finds the door locked and bolted. Asked how she can treat Morris so cruelly, Catherine replies coldly "Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters." Though The Heiress ends on a downbeat note, the audience is gratified to know that Catherine Sloper has matured from ugly-duckling loser to a tower of strength who will never allow herself to be manipulated by anyone ever again.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Universal Studios
- Region Code:
- [Full Frame]
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Cast & Crew
|Olivia de Havilland||Catherine Sloper|
|Montgomery Clift||Morris Townsend|
|Ralph Richardson||Dr. Austin Sloper|
|Miriam Hopkins||Lavinia Penniman|
|Mona Freeman||Marian Almond|
|Ray Collins||Jefferson Almond|
|Betty Linley||Mrs. Montgomery|
|Selena Royle||Elizabeth Almond|
|Paul Lees||Arthur Townsend|
|Harry Antrim||Mr. Abeel|
|Charles C. Coleman||Asst. Director|
|Aaron Copland||Score Composer|
|Edith Head||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|William W. Hornbeck||Editor|
|Harry Horner||Art Director|
|Gordon Jennings||Special Effects|
|Emile Kuri||Art Director,Set Decoration/Design|
|John Meehan||Art Director|
|Gile Steele||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Robert Wyler||Associate Producer|
|Henry James||Source Author|
1. Chapter 1 [1:42]
2. Chapter 2 [6:42]
3. Chapter 3 [13:15]
4. Chapter 4 [9:22]
5. Chapter 5 [9:30]
6. Chapter 6 [4:31]
7. Chapter 7 [8:57]
8. Chapter 8 [6:18]
9. Chapter 9 [:39]
10. Chapter 10 [4:38]
11. Chapter 11 [5:04]
12. Chapter 12 [6:35]
13. Chapter 13 [7:46]
14. Chapter 14 [4:03]
15. Chapter 15 [8:20]
16. Chapter 16 [4:31]
17. Chapter 17 [9:58]
18. Chapter 18 [3:01]
19. Chapter 19 [:21]
20. Chapter 20 [:01]
Menu Group #1 with 20 chapter(s) covering 01:55:22
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I admit that i bought this movie just because of the actors Clift and De Havilland alone. i enjoyed De Havilland so much in "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" and Clift in "Suddenly last Summer" and thought what an interesting pairing of actors ! i will also admit that i almost quit viewing about a third of the way into the movie but something, the costumes by Edith Head and the music soundtrack by Aaron Copeland kept me interested and i am glad that i did continue. The Heiress packs such an emotional punch that it is easy to see why it won 4 Academy Awards.
Really great old movie. It's a cliche, but they dont't make them like this anymore.
Performances by the actors were absolutely wonderful. Very compelling.
this is a great classic movie with outstanding acting by Olivia De Havilland.. isn't it interesting that they could make movies without violence, swearing and nudity in the good old days? Three cheers for the actors who were know for just that " Acting"..
The interesting thing about THE HEIRESS is how the heroine makes a logical change from a naive young woman to a determined, neurotic spinster through the betrayal of her father and her lover. Olivia de Havilland plays both sides of her character with equal skill and richly deserved her Academy Award as Best Actress. Ralph Richardson gives the most impressive performance of his screen career as the domineering father unable to love his daughter because she is so unlike his beautiful wife. Montgomery Clift makes the most of an ambiguous role--his eyes make us think he does love Catherine despite the fact that he is supposed to be a callow fortune hunter. Miriam Hopkins is a sheer delight as the giddy but well-meaning aunt with romantic fancies of her own. A huge asset to the film is the striking musical score by Aaron Copeland. With Olivia de Havilland giving one of her most heartfelt performances and William Wyler directing with meticulous attention to detail, this is a film masterpiece worth seeing again and again.
In ''The Heiress'' William Wyler achieves what few other world-class directors could have achieved:a film masterpiece greater than the play on which it was based, both play adaptation and screenplay by Ruth and Augustus Goetz. It is sheer perfection; and it can be seen again and again with pleasure. The art direction by Harry Horner, et al, and the cinematography by Leo Tover, are superb. This is one of the all-time great Hollywood films.
a powerful film about love and the denial of love. not a womans film, but a film about suffering and yearning of the human heart.
If you are a woman that has been done wrong by a man at one time or other, this move is for you.