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William 'Stage' Boyd
Carrie boards the train to Chicago with big ambitions. She gets a job stitching shoes and her sister's husband takes almost all of her pay for room and board. Then she injures a finger and is fired. This is the 1890s. Charles Drouet, a salesman she met on the train, comes to her rescue, invites her to dine at Fitzgerald's where the manager George Hurstwood sends over a bottle of champagne. Stay in Drouet's apartment. He will be on the road 10 days. When she leaves the apartment many months later -- on a train bound for New York -- her traveling companion is Hurstwood. Why is he in such a hurry? Written by
Dale O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I read the book at 17 and picked it up again. I remember seeing the film many years ago and decided to buy the video. What a find. I had never realized how romantic Sir Olivier could be. Talk about how desperate love can destroy a life at any age. When George Hurstwood, a wealthy manager of a prominent drinking establishment meets naive, trusting Carrie Meeber from Columbia City he is smitten. Right from the moment he spies her entering the men's bar entrance you know from his eyes he is hooked. When he attempts to seduce her away from Charles Drouet I believe he plans to just keep her as a mistress to satisfy his need for love. When he finds she is not to be won over he must sacrifice everything to have her, including forfeiting his property and assets to a shrew of a wife, played unmercifully by Miriam Hopkins.
Olivier's eyes are captivating in every scene with Jennifer Jones, his manners are impeccable the chemistry between them is dazzling. Watch his eyes especially when Carrie declares her love for him in the park. I love this film and it is much more idealistic than the book which describes Carrie as disillusioned when Hurstwood can't support her and thinks him old and useless. In the film her love endures even in poverty. When Hurstwood's son surfaces Carrie encourages him to seek him out for help and decides to leave only for his benefit.
Carrie is not portrayed in the film as the selfish character in Dreiser's novel. You truly believe her love for Hurstwood but at what cost. Hurstwood has the class and wealth Carrie is looking for. Problem is she loves nice things and her respectability is compromised when thinking Hurstwood unmarried chooses him. Jennifer Jones is marvelous going from a poor young, innocent girl with an education but it's her looks that help her along. Eddie Albert is fine as the self assured drummer who wins her over with his charm. I also picked up on the "green acres" bit. It's Olivier who steals the film, going from a respectable gentleman to a tragic figure who holds onto his dignity to the end. For all you romantics see this film. It's fifty years old and Olivier and Jones can still burn up the screen.
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