An actress, a director, and a writer are asked to help revive the career of ruthless Hollywood studio bigwig Jonathan Shields. However, all three are reluctant because they have all been used and betrayed by him in the past.
A struggling young actress with a six-year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white.
The young and poor George Eastman (Montgomery Clift) leaves his religious mother and Chicago and arrives in California expecting to find a better job in the business of his wealthy uncle Charles Eastman. His cousin Earl Eastman advises him that there are many women in the factory and the basic rule is that he must not hang around with any of them. George meets the worker of the assembly line, Alice Tripp, in the movie theater and they date. Meanwhile, the outcast George is promoted and he meets the gorgeous Angela Vickers at a party thrown at his uncle's house. Angela introduces him to the local high society and they fall in love with each other. However, Alice is pregnant and she wants to get married with George. During a dinner party at Angela's lake house with parents, relatives, and friends, Alice calls George from the bus station and gives him thirty minutes to meet her; otherwise she will crash the party and tell what has happened. George is pressed by the situation which ends ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As a Film, This is Haunting, Tragic Romanticism...
George Stevens' A PLACE IN THE SUN is a poetic film, filled with tender moments, sadness, and pending doom. Having not read the book, I had the pleasure of seeing the material for the first time, which is preferable if you see a film based on a "classic" novel. Montgomery Clift is his usual mysterious self as he has a scandalous relationship with the homely Shelly Winters and falls instantly in love with a spellbindingly beautiful Liz Taylor, who was only 19 when the picture was made. She glows with energy and a sense of optimism about life, a stark contrast to Clift, whom Taylor has also fallen for. Rumor has it they had an actual affair while making the movie. This is not for all tastes, for it is slow, and Clift is not all that appealing. The idea of dropping a lesser life (with Winters) and pursuing the good life with Taylor is what makes it work and the lengths to which Clift will go are staggering.
George Stevens has a gift for "painting" a movie on-screen. Just see GIANT, also with Taylor, or SHANE, the other two parts of his "American Trilogy". The scenes on the lake and the way the mood of the movie is painted is quite simply amazing. He also uses slow dissolves that leave a ghostly image on-screen between scenes. This all adds to the atmospheric touch of tragedy that will ensue. Poor Shelly Winters. She always gets a raw deal in films. There are times when you almost sympathize with Clift. Imagine living the life of a socialite with the girl of your dreams and a good job with your family. A life with Winters would be dismal according to Clift and us. What's right is right, however. An unnecessary court room saga closes the picture to ensure the viewer's sense of justice. This must've been pretty controversial stuff back in the early-50's
A PLACE IN THE SUN truly is an American tragedy, a portrait of young lives gone wrong with post-WWII optimism as a backdrop. Clift and Taylor shine together, and provide film fans with a romance never to be forgotten. The finale is emotionally draining during Taylor's expression of undying love. Unfortunately, Clift cannot have it all. A beautiful piece of classical Hollywood film-making with a mix of method acting (Clift) and a love story we wish could work.
RATING: 8 of 10
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