Woman in White

The Woman in White

Director: Peter Godfrey, Eleanor Parker, Alexis Smith, Sydney Greenstreet

Cast: Peter Godfrey, Eleanor Parker, Alexis Smith, Sydney Greenstreet

     
 
The Woman in White attempts to translate the archaic prose of 19th century gothic-mystery writer Wilkie Collins to the medium of film. Gig Young plays a 19th century painter who, while en route to a country estate, encounters a strange, ethereal young lady (Eleanor Parker) who both begs his help and insists that he keep their meeting a secret. He will meet the

Overview

The Woman in White attempts to translate the archaic prose of 19th century gothic-mystery writer Wilkie Collins to the medium of film. Gig Young plays a 19th century painter who, while en route to a country estate, encounters a strange, ethereal young lady (Eleanor Parker) who both begs his help and insists that he keep their meeting a secret. He will meet the girl again at several crucial junctures -- though she will fail to recognize him. The painter has unknowingly stumbled upon a scheme by the diabolical Count Fosco (Sydney Greenstreet) to claim an inheritance on behalf of a dissipated nobleman (John Emery); the plan involves a marriage of convenience to the hapless lady of the house (Alexis Smith), blackmail, hidden siblings, and the suppression of a dark family secret involving Fosco's neurotic wife (Agnes Moorehead). The full plotline is far too labyrinthine to go into detail here -- in fact, it can barely be followed in the film itself. While The Woman in White suffers from excess verbiage, the film is at its best in its shadowy, nocturnal "conspiracy" set pieces and in the scenes with timorous aristocrat John Abbott, to whom every raised voice is a threat to his fragile health. And keep an eye on Sidney Greenstreet's pet monkey, Iago, easily the most well-adjusted character in the film.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Wilkie Collins purists will take exception to many of the liberties taken in bringing the classic tale of The Woman in White to the screen, and not without reason. The chopping and rearranging this has been enacted on the story results in a somewhat confusing and not always convincing plot. However, there's enough of the story left that most viewers will find it a fine and fairly engaging mystery-cum-ghost story. Much of the dialogue comes off as rather stilted, and one is tempted to blame scenarist Stephen Morehouse Avery for not realizing that Collins' dialogue was not only of a different period (and would need to be refitted so that it didn't sound too obscure) but of a different medium (and would need to be refitted so that it came across as more natural). However, eventually one realizes that it is more often the actors who are to blame than the writer, for the likes of Sydney Greenstreet and Agnes Moorehead have no problem making the words seem perfectly fitting. On the other hand, Gig Young and Alexis Smith don't seem to know how to stretch their mouths to make the dialogue seem unforced and natural. Young is hopeless all around, a major detriment considering the importance of his role. Smith is better, but still far from what is required. Greenstreet is a delight, Moorehead a treat, and John Abbott a somewhat bizarre treasure. The Woman in White has its ups and downs, but overall is worth catching.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/08/2016
UPC:
0888574389703
Original Release:
1948
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:49:00
Sales rank:
1,318

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Eleanor Parker Laura Fairlie,Anne Catherick
Alexis Smith Marian Halcomb
Sydney Greenstreet Count Fosco
Gig Young Walter Hartright
Agnes Moorehead Countess Fosco
John Abbott Frederick Fairlie
John Emery Sir Percival Glyde
Curt Bois Louis
Emma Dunn Mrs. Vesey
Matthew Boulton Dr. Nevin
Clifford Brooke Jepson
Barry Bernard Dimmock
Anita Bolster Mrs. Todd
Frederic Worlock Butler

Technical Credits
Peter Godfrey Director
Stephen Morehouse Avery Screenwriter
Henry Blanke Producer
Stanley Fleischer Art Director
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Carl Guthrie Cinematographer
Clarence Kolster Editor
Bernard Newman Costumes/Costume Designer
Max Steiner Score Composer

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