The Heiress (1949)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  10 February 1950 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 9,031 users  
Reviews: 115 user | 48 critic

A young naive woman falls for a handsome young man who her emotionally abusive father suspects is a fortune hunter.



(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by), 3 more credits »
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Vanessa Brown ...
Betty Linley ...
Mona Freeman ...
Selena Royle ...
Paul Lees ...
Harry Antrim ...
Russ Conway ...
David Thursby ...


In the mid-1800's, the wealthy Sloper family - widowed surgeon Dr. Austin Sloper, his adult daughter Catherine Sloper (Dr. Sloper's only surviving child), and Dr. Sloper's recently widowed sister Lavinia Penniman - live in an opulent house at 16 Washington Square, New York City. They have accrued their wealth largely through Dr. Sloper's hard work. Despite the lessons that Dr. Sloper has paid for in all the social graces for her, Catherine is a plain, simple, awkward and extremely shy woman who spends all her free time alone doing embroidery when she is not doting on her father. Catherine's lack of social charm and beauty - unlike her deceased mother - is obvious to Dr. Sloper, who hopes that Lavinia will act as her guardian in becoming more of a social person, and ultimately as chaperon if Catherine were ever to meet the right man. The first man ever to show Catherine any attention is the handsome Morris Townsend, who she met at a family party. Catherine is initially uncertain as to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A truly great motion picture (one-sheet) See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 February 1950 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Die Erbin  »

Box Office


$2,600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The song sung by Montgomery Clift while playing the piano is originally a vocal romance, "Plaisir d'amour", composed in 1784 by classical composer Jean-Paul-Égide Martini (August 31, 1741 - February 10, 1816), and was the basis for Elvis Presley's 1961 hit "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" written in 1961 for the movie "Blue Hawaii". See more »


In the very last scene when Morris is pounding on the door after the door has been bolted from the inside you can see the keyhole has no hole in it. It is clearly a facade. See more »


Catherine Sloper: Don't be kind to me, father. It doesn't become you.
See more »


Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »


Coquette polka
(1852) (uncredited)
Music by Charles d'Albert
Dance music at the party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Brilliant superb astonishing movie
16 March 2005 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I had the pleasure to watch again "The Heiress" 1949 movie tonight, and it is absolutely brilliant! ; what a gem! the script, the directing, set designs, lighting, but above all the acting, are all extraordinary. The performances by the three main characters are simply superb. Olivia De Haviland is utterly convincing in her transition from a, not so young, unwanted and unloved woman, into 3 different phases of her personality as the plot unfolds ; all her acting is beautiful. Montgomery Cliff delivers a great performance and mastery at portraying deceit with a charming smile. Ralph Richardson commands respect and holds an air of definite authority as Catherine's father. His aristocratic demeanor is also very well portrayed for a prominent New York gentleman of the late 1800's. The human tragedy of miscommunication between beings unfolds with impeccable timing. The film by today standards may be considered as slow, but underneath is found a study of characters that runs very deeply. The contrast between the real Love and the pretense is striking. You cannot help but feel sorry for the way the characters are held captives to a set of stiff conventions and untold feelings. A human tragedy at its best.

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