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 <email@example.com>
The 2004 DVD version contain the deleted "flophouse" scene never seen by the audience in the US. This sequence was removed at the film release due to the political state of affairs in the US during this era. Chapter 16 contains that scene. See more »
This filming of Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie focuses more on Laurence Olivier's character of George Hurstwood more than on the title character that Jennifer Jones portrays. In the novel, Carrie is not quite as good a girl as Jennifer portrays her. But that is probably due to 1950s conventions and David O. Selznick's svengali-like influence on his wife's career.
It's not a film that ranks high with Olivier fans. In fact he did it to keep himself busy while current wife Vivien Leigh was doing A Streetcar Named Desire. But his portrayal of George Hurstwood may rank as the most tragic character Olivier ever brought to the screen.
Poor Hurstwood. On the outside a most respectable individual, good job wife and two kids, money in the bank. He's the manager of a fancy Chicago eatery named Fitzgerald's. And one day accompanied by Eddie Albert, walks Jennifer Jones into his place and he flips for her.
Carrie's a young girl from the farm gone to Chicago to seek life. But women were rather restricted in their employment and their options for living. She runs up against Victorian morality which was what Dresier was really writing about in his book. To today's audiences those conventions seem ridiculous, but William Wyler does do a good job in portraying the era.
He also does another clever thing in the film. Mary Murphy has a brief part as Olivier's daughter. She bears a striking resemblance to Jennifer Jones. She has a couple of lines of inconsequential dialog with Olivier, but your image of her stays throughout the film and you understand why Olivier tumbles for Jones. Freud would approve.
Kudos also for Miriam Hopkins who plays Mrs. Hurstwood. She's a vindicative shrew in this film, but she's also a wronged party and Hopkins does convey a fine balance in her portrayal.
Eddie Albert is also a wronged party. Jones meets him on the train to Chicago and he falls for her also. Due to circumstances in the film, she has to accept his hospitality. Albert also falls for her big time, but she can't see him when Olivier's around.
There is also a nice bit by Ray Teal as an insurance investigator. I can't tell you about him without giving some of the plot away, but he's a very cynical fellow and kind of gives both Jones and Olivier a reality check.
It's a nicely done film, fans of the stars will love it.
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