Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Heiress (1949)

{Alternatively titled: Why is Everyone Called Cathy?}

Seriously guys, it's like you can't get away from it! Cathy Seldon in Singin' In The Rain, Cathy Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights and Cathy Sloper in this movie among many others. They always seem to be having their names screeched at them, like in Singing In The Rain he shouts 'Cathy, wait, CATHY!" and in Wuthering Heights Heathcliff is completely hysterical and starts calling out, "Cathy, come back to me! CATHY! My own! My heart's darling!"... Errrr... Yes. But it is Larry Olivier so we shall and must forgive him.

This woman in the poster looks like Elizabeth Taylor for sure.

I digress. I watched The Heiress in honour of Olivia De Havilland (actually I ordered it before I knew it was her birthday the other day but it seemed like a great reason to finally watch it) and I did like it. I did. Most of it...

The plot is basically that Catherine Sloper is the daughter of wealthy New York doctor Austin Sloper who is still fighting to cope with the loss of his beautiful and seemingly perfect wife.

He is constantly comparing Cathy to her mother whom he idealises and sets as his standard for judging anyone. Cathy is shy, but very accurate with her embroidery and very sweet-natured. Her father, Austin believes that almost no man would want her for her qualities - just her money. When she is introduced to a charming young man, Morris Townsend, by her chaperoning (recently widowed, although you'd never guess) aunt Lavina, she falls in love with him and he with her and he soon (within a few) days proposes and Austin, naturally, begins to question his motives.

He decides that he strongly disapproves of Morris and takes Cathy away on a long trip to Europe to try and make her forget about him.

She doesn't and returns just as eager to marry him. After a nasty fight with her father during which he told her frankly that she had no special or unique characteristics other than her large inheritance, Cathy storms out and finds Morris waiting to elope with her.

She tells him that she has effectively disinherited herself and she wants nothing more to do with her father. They agree for Morris to come back to the house at later that night, but she waits and waits and he never comes. Later that year, her father becomes gravely ill with an illness he will never recover from (by his own diagnosis) leaving only the maid and Cathy to look after him, and Cathy still refuses to be on friendly terms with him...

It was a good film and it was directed by William Wyler who I think is up there with directors like Hitchcock and Billy Wilder. The three best things in it for me were the direction, Miriam Hopkins and the costume design by Edith Head. Miriam Hopkins was amazing. I had only seen her in The Old Maid before and I thought that she was amazing and held the film together, completely. From what I understand, she was not a most agreeable lady, but there are countless greats who weren't, and what doesn't show up on the screen shouldn't really affect our opinion of the actor that much anyhow.

Olivia De Havilland was great too. The only thing about her performance that I wasn't so crazy about was the high voice she put on to sound younger. I didn't think she needed it to make her seem young, and it might have been a little more sincere without, but it certainly didn't take away from her great delivery and Olivia De Havilland-ish-ness.

I'am not a great one for mannered actors. I can adore James Dean in some things and not like him so much in others, in fact I even named my camera after him (it's a Canon Rebel, get it? Rebel Without a Cause? Canon Rebel?) and yes. I name inanimate objects. Is that a crime? Sheesh. I was ok with Montgomery Clift. He was very beautiful and good for the part and he was fine - I just felt like he lacked something a little.

Costumes and makeup: I. Want. Everyone. In. This. Movie's. Hair. And. Outfits. That. Is. All.

I would reccomend it although the story is a little bit of a downer (Where are my fill in posts of Pillow Talk and The Paleface clips when I desperately need them?). It makes for an interesting watch for sure :D

Also, I thought you all deserved an explanation for the sporadic posting. I just landed myself the a couple of roles in the school production of Bugsy Malone. I think I might be a-suffering from personality confusion. As of yet, my list of roles is:
  1.  Lena - The show off star of the show that the female lead, Blousey is auditioning for, as Lena leaves and comes back on a daily basis.
  2. A singer in the speakeasy
  3. A soloist in a reprise of a song
  4. One of the many narrators
  5. and, my favourite of course, a tree.
The coolest for sure is Lena though here is the main bit of her part in the movie

I also so get to come in screeching "OSCAR!!! OSCAR!!!" and some other cool lines. Ah well, it ain't Ilsa Lund but it'l do for now :-) I did audition for the lead but it went to older kids for both nights. That's show biz! So yes. I'm quite occupied with rehearsals and the like so I'll try and post when I can!

P.S. I ran Race For Life on Sunday with my friend which is a 5km race in support of cancer research and I just wanted to say that I hope everyone out there reading this who has been affected by cancer in any way can be helped by the money that we are all raising. I also especially wanted to shout out to my grandpa and amazing flute and piano teacher who have been suffering with cancer lately. Get better soon!


Josie said...

James Dean. Yes yes yes yes. I just saw Rebel Without A Cause on TV the other day for like the 20th time. So fantastic. And personally, I always loved both Olivia and Montgomery in this one.

Audrey said...

I love Olivia but did not like this movie. It was very predictable, slow, and depressing…I thought. I'm not crazy about Monty, either. My favorite movie of his (of the ones I've seen) is Hitchcock's *I Confess*. Still, I don't know, I just don't really 'get' his popularity.

I'm surprised you mentioned hair and makeup because I actually really disliked both on Olivia. Okay, now I feel like this is a disagreeable comment…so feel free to try to bring me over to the light. :D

Congratulations on landing a part in your school play, and on your work for cancer research!

Rick29 said...

I enjoyed your review of THE HEIRESS, but must confess I'm not a fan of the film. The characters just didn't engage me. Nice photos!

The Cat Hag said...

Oh no, you did not reveal how it ends!! I would have loved to known.

This movie looks awesome, I must check it out. :)

The Cat Hag

Kate Gorman said...

Another movie I love xx

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