6.7/10
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46 user 44 critic

Washington Square (1997)

Catherine Sloper has found the man of her dreams in Morris Townsend, but her plans to marry him are strongly opposed by her father, who believes Townsend is only interested in his daughter ... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Catherine Sloper
... Dr. Austin Sloper
... Aunt Lavinia Penniman
... Morris Townsend
... Aunt Elizabeth Almond
Arthur Laupus ... Mr. Almond
... Marian Almond
... Arthur Townsend
Betsy Brantley ... Mrs. Montgomery
... Maureen (Maid)
Sara Ruzicka ... Catherine Sloper (age 11)
Rachel Layne Sacrey ... Sarah Almond
Rachel Osborne ... Alice Almond
... John Ludlow
... Jacob Webber (Notary)
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Storyline

Catherine Sloper has found the man of her dreams in Morris Townsend, but her plans to marry him are strongly opposed by her father, who believes Townsend is only interested in his daughter for her money. But Catherine is determined to follow her heart, even if she loses her inheritance in the process. But just what are Townsend's intentions? Written by Mike Myers <mmyers@ucsd.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She must choose between her father's fortune... Or the man she loves.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements including some sensuality, a childbirth scene and brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

10 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Erbin vom Washington Square  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,352, 5 October 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,710,693, 11 January 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as Catherine. Other actresses to play Catherine have included Olivia de Havilland in the 1949 film version, Julie Harris in a 1961 television version, and on Broadway, Wendy Hiller in 1947, Jane Alexander in 1975, Cherry Jones in 1995, and Jessica Chastain in 2012. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Austin Sloper: It would give me great satisfaction if you were to promise that upon my death you will not marry Townsend.
Catherine Sloper: I very seldom think of Mr. Townsend.
Dr. Austin Sloper: All the easier to keep your promise.
Catherine Sloper: I can't promise.
Dr. Austin Sloper: You are very obstinate.
Catherine Sloper: I don't think you understand.
Dr. Austin Sloper: Please explain, then.
Catherine Sloper: I can't explain. And I can't promise.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Tu chiami una vita
Lyrics by Salvatore Quasimodo
Music by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Performed by Darlene Koldenhoven and Joseph Williams
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User Reviews

 
Flat movie which betrays the spirit of James' novel
30 October 2000 | by See all my reviews

"Washington Square" is a flat, shabby adaptation of the short novel by Henry James. Indeed, the novel is very good, but far from the level of James' masterpieces. Moreover its simple, eventless story seems unsuited to make it into a film (although William Wyler, with his "The Heiress", gave in 1949 a beautiful version of the novel).

Anyway, the movie completely betrays the spirit of this work of the great American writer. In the novel, the heroine Catherine is shy, not very attractive and somewhat clumsy, but nonetheless she is a sound, intelligent young woman, and she's not as naive as it may seem. Her attachment for her father is dignified and respectful, with no morbid sides in it. Along three quarters of the movie, Catherine (Jennifer Jason Leigh) just seems to be mentally retarded, poor thing. In the last quarter, she suddenly (and incredibly) becomes intelligent, aware of her dignity as a woman, and all that.

The director Agnieszka Holland has added two vulgar scenes to the story. The first, when the nervous child Catherine has, well, troubles with her vesica. The second scene, when we see on the background a sort of open-air brothel, with prostitutes taking their customers behind tents, and so on. Nothing could be more contrary to the spirit and artistic ideals of Henry James. It is notorious that the writer was extremely decent and demure even for the standards of the Victorian age. I defy anyone to find any coarseness anywhere in the thousands of pages of James' huge literary production. I really was particularly annoyed by these two scenes.

Yes, I know that a director needs reasonable freedom in the screen adaptation of a novel. But if a director utterly ignores or misunderstands the art of an author (here Henry James), I don't see the point of using his work to make a bad movie.

The acting is adequate to the movie: poor and flat, in spite of the talent of Albert Finney and Maggie Smith. "Washington Square" is definitely a non-recommendable film.


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