Set against the background of the Battle of Waterloo, Becky Sharp is the story of Vanity Fair by Thackeray. Becky and Amelia are girls at school together, but Becky is from a "show biz" ... See full summary »
Set against the background of the Battle of Waterloo, Becky Sharp is the story of Vanity Fair by Thackeray. Becky and Amelia are girls at school together, but Becky is from a "show biz" family, or in other words, very low class. Becky manages to insinuate herself in Amelia's family and gets to know all their friends. From this possibly auspicious- beginning, she manages to ruin her own life, becoming sick, broke, and lonely, and also ruins the lives of many other "loved ones". In the movie we get to see the class distinctions in England at the time, and get a sense of what it was like for the English military at the time of the Napoleonic wars. Written by
In the final scenes, Becky is living in a drab furnished room that is clearly shown to be on the second floor. However, once in the room, a look through a window shows people walking on the street - at the same level as the room itself. See more »
Pretty BECKY SHARP, orphaned & penniless, knows exactly what she wants out of life and how to get it.
William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair is brought to vivid, if drastically reduced, life and provides a wonderful showcase for star Miriam Hopkins, who gets the most out of her selfish, petulant, scheming, desperate character. Her Becky is fascinating to watch and dominates nearly every scene in the film, making us forget that the actress is not English and forgive that the character is rather less than virtuous.
Miss Hopkins is aided by a sizable cast of seasoned veterans, mostly British, several of whom only appear in a single scene. Frances Dee has very little to do except look lovely as Becky's school chum. Nigel Bruce comes off rather better as Miss Dee's obese brother who adores Becky. The incomparable Alison Skipworth plays their quarrelsome old aunt who hires Becky for a short while. Alan Mowbray has a fine romantic role as the husband who worships Becky, to his pain.
Marvelous Sir Cedric Hardwicke successfully underplays his role as a powerful nobleman who takes Becky as his mistress. Wonderful Billie Burke appears for a few moments in a serious role as a society lady attending a soirée in Brussels. Doris Lloyd is the hostess.
Three short, sharp portrayals worth watching for are provided by Elspeth Dudgeon as an acidic girls' school proprietress; George Hassell as a rascally old baronet; and Tempe Pigott as a plain-talking charwoman.
BECKY SHARP is important historically in that it was the first film produced in full 3-strip Technicolor. Director Rouben Mamoulian's opulent production was a worthy choice for such a distinguished accolade. Restored in the 1990's, the color is once again most pleasing to the eye.
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