An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married.
A woman secretly suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an effort to cure her condition. Soon afterwards, she is found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there and seemingly no way to prove her innocence.
In 1844, the Wells family lives in a small farm of their own in Greenwich, Connecticut and the sons and daughters have a rigid discipline and religious education from the patriarch Ephraim Wells. When his wife Abigail Wells receives a letter from her wealthy distant cousin Nicholas "Nick" Van Ryn inviting one of her daughters to live with his wife Johanna Van Ryn and him nursing their daughter Katrine Van Ryn, the naive Miranda Wells gets excited with the perspective of traveling. Her mother convinces Ephraim to let her go and Miranda travels with her father to New York. They meet Nick and they learn that he is a patroon of farmers at the Hudson Valley. Then Miranda travels to the Dragonwyck mansion where she is introduced to the voracious Johanna and the sweet Katrine and to the housekeeper Magda. Miranda also meets Dr. Jeff Turner, who is a sort of leader of the farmers that work for Nicholas, in a party and befriends him. Soon she notes that Katrine is neglected by her parents. ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Katrine (the Van Ryn child) disappears about half way thru the story, with no explanation, and is never seen nor heard of again. See more »
Johanna Van Ryn:
You can't imagine what it's like to be sick in this miserable, drab house.
Nicholas Van Ryn:
I can't imagine that Dragonwyck could be either miserable or drab except to those who reflect misery or drabness within themselves.
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Anya Seton is one of the great historical fiction writers, up there with Thomas Costain. Like my favorite novel of hers, Green Darkness, Dragonwyck is a moody, atmospheric piece set in another time, and the film version (with nice help from the musical score) is quite good.
Gene Tierney plays a radiant beauty who comes to live at Dragonwyck as a companion to Van Ryn's daughter. She soon falls under the spell of its strange master, played by Vincent Price. Young horror film fans often don't realize that before Vincent Price entered the horror realm, he was a leading man and supporting player in some very good films. With his icy voice and snobbish demeanor, Price is a perfect Van Ryn. As Miranda, Gene Tierney is gorgeous, and needless to say, attracts the interest of not only Price, but Dr. Turner, played by handsome Glenn Langan. Given the politics of Van Ryn, it is surprising to me that Miranda drifted toward him and not to Dr. Turner, with whom she seemed to have more in common, i.e., an empathy toward her fellow man. But she is swept up in the upper class lifestyle and her own childhood dreams. Always a mistake.
There are some disturbing holes in the story. What happens to the little girl and to her maid, for instance, at the end of the film? And what is Van Ryn, dressed in his bathrobe, doing in Miranda's room while she's in bed? Seems odd for those times, and given Miranda's background (the daughter of God-fearing, Bible-reading parents), it's totally out of character for her to have let him in.
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