A Place in the Sun

A Place in the Sun

DVD - 2001
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George Eastman, a poor relation of a rich family, is given a blue-collar job in the family business. After getting involved with a young woman he meets there, he is torn between his responsibility to her and his growing love for a rich socialite.

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d
Derringer
Dec 10, 2016

In this dynamic and ambitious remake of "An American Tragedy" - The overall power that drives this compelling story to its tragic finale comes straight from its 3 principal players, Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, and Montgomery Clift.

When viewed by today's standards - The depiction of the idle rich and American morals as they were back in the late 1940s are certainly a curious novelty of sorts, all on their own.

I'd say that ManMachine's perceptive comments below are certainly worth reading, along with watching the video-clip that he included.

f
Fuzzy_Wuzzy
Dec 06, 2016

For starters - I had always thought that actor Montgomery Clift was just another empty-headed, Hollywood "pretty-boy", and, basically, nothing more than that. But his portrayal in A Place In The Sun (APITS, for short) proved to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he was really quite a gifted performer.

In my opinion, it was definitely Clift's heartfelt portrayal as the tragic George Eastman character who gave APITS's story of social snobbery and murder its depth and its meaning. I'd say that it was Clift, alone, who carried this film over its many flaws and clichés to its riveting, melodramatic conclusion.

Yes. Of course, it certainly did help APITS's overall success that the gorgeous, 19-year-old Elizabeth Taylor was cast as Angela Vickers, the sole focus of George's hopes, his dreams and his burning desire.

But once poor George became hopelessly involved with pretty, young Angela, this viewer could easily understand what heady and emotional turmoil drove him at first to contemplate and then commit the ultimate "crime of passion".

If you ask me - I think that even today, 66 years later, this depiction of the "American Tragedy" holds up surprisingly well. It's a film that has somehow managed to avoid that inevitable "dated" feeling which seems to plague so many pictures from that particular era..... (*Watch movie video-clip*)

a
akirakato
Apr 07, 2015

This is a 1951 American drama directed by George Stevens, loosely based on the 1925 novel "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser and the play, also titled An American Tragedy.
It tells the story of a working-class young man who is entangled with two women; one who works in his wealthy uncle's factory and the other a beautiful socialite.
The novel had been filmed in 1931 as "An American Tragedy."
The performances of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor are superb.
I can hardly believe that Elizabeth was 17 years old at the time of filming and that she had never taken any acting lessons before.

d
DickyMicky
Jan 09, 2015

A Place In The Sun's story centers around young George Eastman, the poor nephew of rich industrialist, Charles Eastman.

When George is given a job in his uncle's factory, it is the humblest of positions.

Treated very much like an outsider, George, who's always addressing his uncle as "Mr. Eastman", is clearly denied any entry into the exclusive social circle that he sees around him.

George soon falls for the alluring, young socialite, Angela Vickers, and this is where the "American tragedy" begins.

c
chat9
Nov 24, 2014

See this tightly written, emotionally fulfilling romantic masterpiece if only to gaze at Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift at the height of their beauty. The cry of the loon over a moonlit lake will haunt your dreams.

a
AQUILEA777
Jul 08, 2014

Overrated. Plot is improbable, yet predictable. None of the characters behave in a plausible way. Dramatic courtroom scene unrealistic, evidence insufficient.

m
Monolith
Dec 26, 2013

This love triangle with consequences of scandal, heartache and doom was handled superbly by George Stevens and crew. I was particularly impressed with one metaphoric shot of a dead birch tree immediately following Clift's and Winters' capsize sequence, and Franz Waxman's chaotic score as Monty attempts to evade the cops closing in on him by escaping into the woods... A twenty year old Elizabeth Taylor shows she's no amateur actress here, and complements thirty-somethings Clift and Winters nicely rounding out this classic film. --And on a side-note-- I wonder if Burr's deadpan D.A. role here had any influence in his landing the lead in the upcoming Perry Mason series...

a
alpaca85
Aug 02, 2013

A Place in the Sun represents the "Golden Era" Hollywood system at it's best. Melodrama, acting and thrills blend seamlessly into what can only be classified as tragedy. It is a film that stubbornly refuses to be pigeonholed into one genre. Is it a mystery? Maybe, but there's too much melodrama for that. A melodrama perhaps, but it's not very soapy. A character piece? No, it's just big enough to feature three characters. So what is it? Yes, it's a tragedy, but apparently in 1951 they classified it as a blockbuster. Today it's about as far away from that term as possible, but back then I suppose they had a very different definition for that word.

You see, this isn't a movie about explosions or high stakes thrills. It's a moody, character driven drama. It's about a down on his luck young man who scores a job at his cousins factory. He becomes intoxicated with his family's lifestyle, yet his downbeat beginnings prevent him from becoming one of them. At the factory he hooks up with a lowly factory worker, named Alice, and gets her pregnant. Yet at the same time he is smitten with wealthy socialite Angela Vickers. As she begins to fall for him, Alice's persistence to get married begins to foul his plans and his mind turns to the only option left, murder.

In many ways, the whole thing relies on the shoulders of Montgomery Clift. This was his first big, meaty, leading man part, and the film happened to come about in the year where the Method broke through onto the Hollywood screen. Actors like Clift and Marlon Brando both broke through that year. While Brando would prove to be the greater success, in many ways it was Clift that would prove to meld the too worlds best. His performance here is perhaps the best example of this. He really makes you want to root for him, even when the ugly truth is revealed. There's just something so relatable in his face, it's a shame he didn't do more villain roles.

Shelley Winters as Anna is very good, but she doesn't get much time to expand on her characters, and thus she comes off as a little one note. Still, in her smallish screen time she still gives you a little pit in your stomach, and when the pivotal moment comes, your heart is torn. Clift is so charming, and Winters is so pitiful, that you can't decide whether murder or acceptance is the way to go. And why is that decision even more complicated is best summed up in two words: Elizabeth Taylor.

You see, Taylor has the most cliched performance of all in the film. It's one that's been seen before and even before that, yet for some reason there is something very different about the way Taylor plays her. She makes the fact that spending only a few hours with Clift can make her fall head over heels in love believable. She makes the reason Clift contemplates murder obvious and even comprehensible. There is something wonderfully alluring about Elizabeth Taylor, a point no better proven than here.

George Stevens also makes a very strong directorial point here. While most of the cinematography is typical for the time, there are points when the shots seem very modern, such as the parts where the camera shakes Clift's face in intense close-up and stares directly in his eyes. There is also an almost impressionistic moment when Clift takes Winters out on the boat. The way the mist rises up and the way Clift and Winters act make the moment surreal, and reminded me multiple times of Sunrise.

This is far from perfect entertainment, but the as golden era of Hollywood goes, this is a shining moment.

c
creyola
Jul 11, 2012

A story about a good boy who made bad choices. Elizabeth Taylor is beautiful, Shelley Winters does simpering very well. Montgomery Clift is an incredible actor. This one is definitely worth viewing.

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m
Monolith
Dec 29, 2013

Angela Vickers (at George Eastman's death row cell, where he awaits the electric chair): "...All I know is, I'll go on loving you for as long as I live..." George Eastman: "Love me for the time I have left. Never forget me." (they kiss) Angela Vickers: "Goodbye George. Seems like, we always spend the best part of our time... just saying goodbye."

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