The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
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
William Wyler wanted Erroll Flynn for the Montgomery Clift role. See more »
In the scene when Catherine and her father have a heated disagreement and he leaves the room, you see Catherine seated with her left hand in an open palm in a vertical orientation but in the next cut shot, from the front view her left hand is now face down on her leg. See more »
Do you remember her mother? Her mother who had so much grace and gaiety. This is her child.
Austin, no child could compete with this image you have of her mother.
You're not entitled to say that. Only I know what I lost when she died and what I got in her place.
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The movie version of James's Washington Square is based on the play derived from that novella. And the movie (as, presumably, the play did) emphasizes and draws out the unusual, painful relationship between father and daughter, making the story even more compelling and interesting than as depicted in the book. The doctor isn't simply looking out for the best interests of his daughter, he actually despises her. Ralph Richardson gives one of the best performances ever captured on screen.
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