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
In a letter to the New York Times, Aaron Copland denied having composed the music used for the opening credits. His composition for the credits was deemed too challenging for audiences and was replaced at the request of producer William Wyler. See more »
This story takes place at the end of the 1840s, but none of the men wear the cravats--material bound around the neck and tied in either the front or back--that were fashionable in that period; instead they wear neckties and bow ties, which did not come into fashion until the late 1850s. See more »
Story of an oppressive Father and his tyranny over his socially-awkward daughter
I agree with the review written by "Jemmytee". The best part of this movie is that fact that there are no easy answers. I've watched it a dozen times and I still question some of the characters' sincerity and motives -- especially those of Dr. Sloper and Morris.
Catherine's Father is obdurate in his opinion of Morris' character and, therefore, utterly against the union of Morris and his daughter. In one rushed scene, Dr. Sloper's sister (or sister-in-law), a minor character, warns him to tread carefully. He could prevent the marriage on the grounds that Morris might be reckless with the family fortune BUT Morris might do very well with it and secure happiness for his awkward, sad daughter.
These interesting points-of-view, which feel almost casually thrown into the mix, create a deftly handled portrayal of family dynamics and the fragility of the father/daughter relationship.
This movie appears simple - but it is astounding in its subtle complexities!
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