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The Heiress (1949)

Not Rated | | Drama , Romance | 28 December 1949 (USA)
A young naive woman falls for a handsome young man who her emotionally abusive father suspects is a fortune hunter.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Ruth Goetz (written for the screen by), Augustus Goetz (written for the screen by) | 3 more credits »
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Won 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Olivia de Havilland ... Catherine Sloper
Montgomery Clift ... Morris Townsend
Ralph Richardson ... Dr. Austin Sloper
Miriam Hopkins ... Lavinia Penniman
Vanessa Brown ... Maria
Betty Linley ... Mrs. Montgomery
Ray Collins ... Jefferson Almond
Mona Freeman ... Marian Almond
Selena Royle ... Elizabeth Almond
Paul Lees Paul Lees ... Arthur Townsend
Harry Antrim Harry Antrim ... Mr. Abeel
Russ Conway ... Quintus
David Thursby David Thursby ... Geier
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A truly great motion picture (one-sheet) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

28 December 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Erbin See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over seven hundred Paramount Pictures Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by MCA ever since. See more »

Goofs

When Morris first asks Kathryn to dance at the party, she is seated with her dance card in her hand. Her fan is hanging from a string around her wrist on the same arm. Cut to a wider shot as Kathryn stands to join Morris, and suddenly her fan is in her hand, and her dance card is hanging from her wrist. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Penniman: Good heavens, child. You are disinheriting yourself.
Catherine Sloper: Yes. Completely.
Aunt Penniman: Have you told Morris this?
Catherine Sloper: Of course. I told him everything. He is to be my husband.
Aunt Penniman: Oh, you should have waited. Did... Did he understand?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gossip Girl: The Age of Dissonance (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Coquette polka
(1852) (uncredited)
Music by Charles d'Albert
Dance music at the party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Better than the book!
7 May 2003 | by gac1aSee all my reviews

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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