In 1844, farmer's daughter Miranda Wells is invited by Nicholas Van Ryn, distant relation, to live in his mansion as companion to his daughter. Arriving in high hopes, Miranda finds the Van Ryns a bit strange. The parents barely know daughter Katrine; Nicholas faces a revolt of his tenant farmers; the servants hint darkly of curses and visitations. And what does Nicholas really do up in his tower room? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
In the first cut, Miranda meets Dr. Turner on the riverboat going to Dragonwyck. Although it was cut by order of producer Zanuck, actor Glenn Langan can still be seen from behind walking toward Miranda. A brief opening scene showing Miranda reading a novel in a graveyard was also cut. See more »
As Miranda and Van Ryn dance through the doorway from the balcony into the ballroom, she holds her closed fan in her hand. When the shot changes after they enter the room, the fan dangles from her wrist. See more »
You mustn't take me seriously, Miss. No one ever does.
See more »
Excellent early Price in a brilliantly Gothic mood piece
With shades of Hitchcock's Rebecca, Dragonwyck is a lushly Gothic melodrama; abound with themes of social class; centring on the struggle between the rich and the poor in nineteenth century America. The most striking thing about Dragonwyck is the beauty of the piece. The sets are brilliantly Gothic, while director Joseph L. Mankiewicz keeps the atmosphere thick and foreboding, which in turn ensures that the film succeeds in capturing the best of it's locations. The film reunites the two strongest cast members from Otto Preminger's masterpiece 'Laura' - Gene Tierney and the master of the macabre, Vincent Price. These two are both great thespians, but it is Vincent Price that shines the most. Many people pass this great man off as merely a camp horror movie actor, but with his performance here; along with the vast majority of his later ones - Price proves that he is far more than that. His voice and mannerisms make up a lot of his performances, but it's the subtleties that he hints at beyond his immediate performance that really make him great. Just like he did with The Fall of the House of Usher; Price plays one thing, while all the time hinting at a darker side to his character.
The plot follows a young farm girl (Tierney) who goes to stay with her mother's cousin, Nicholas Van Ryan (Price), in his castle upon his request. It isn't long after her arrival that she hears strange things from the servants, and it's not long after that she realises all isn't quite right with Dragonwyck. The plot is rather thinly spread, but the film always manages to stay interesting because of the fact that it doesn't let you know anything until you really need to know. Things are hinted at throughout the film, but the audience never really knows anything for sure. Even by the time the film reaches it's climax, there are several things that have been left open. Vincent Price's performance here stands out from the rest of his oeuvre because he manages to be charming at the same time as being dark and brooding. After having seen the likes of The Abominable Dr Phibes, it's hard to imagine the man being charming; but here it's hard to imagine why Gene Tierney wouldn't fall for him. Dragonwyck has a few problems, but on the whole this is a quality forties melodrama and comes with high recommendations, especially to the Vincent Price fan.
32 of 36 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?