- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- Jay Nunnally Allen
A mixed blessing. The film is brilliant but humorless. Comic relief isn't required, but Hitchcock made it more desirable. The master's influence goes far and wide, even to the point of reducing this film's over rating from three to two stars. There's a saying in Hollywood: bad books make good movies. "An American Tragedy" was considered great by many, short by none. Perhaps the old adage could have been altered to read: long books make bad movies. I've said before as I'll say again. Montgomery Clift's post car crash films are better. See "Miss Lonelyhearts".
A Place in Cinema History
- Don Nell
Monty Clift's death came in early middle age of natural causes; though it was widely considered the unsurprising culmination of a long slow suicide involving chronic substance abuse and ongoing identity crisis for an aging gay matinee idol before there was any liberation available regarding sexual orientation, especially for a public figure. Not until 20 years later; when Rock Hudson became the first celebrity AIDS case after many years of passing. theatrically as a real 'man's man' , did the 'closet ' door begin to come at least somewhat ajar for performers leading a double personal life. I was too young to have any recollection of Clift's meteoric rise to stardom that had mostly run it's course by the time anyone my age was old enough to be even vaguely aware of something that would have been common knowledge to a slighly older generation.
"Is This The Place?"
- frank r. lopez
1951 box office success, tragic drama based on Theodore Dreiser's 1925 novel, great writing and screenplay (different than the book-damn-censors) by Michael Wilson and Harry Brown and directed by the great George Stevens. Nominated for 9 Oscars, winning 6 including Best Director, Screenplay, Editing and yes great B&W Cinematography. Story of lust, social classes, love, social climbing, youth, being socially acceptable, greed, tragedy, karma, law argument on intent and premeditation and the elephant in the room, may I say, female medical procedure (heavily censored). The three leads are terrific here. Cliff (George Eastman) (let me inject here: monty cliff here was james dean before jame dean) as poor relative of well to do family, gets a job through the family and meets Shelley Winters (Alice Tripp) (let me inject here: shelley winters was quite beautiful). They start a relationship but enter Angela Vickers (Taylor) (injection with a bang: taylor at this time was the most beautiful being on the planet breathing) and her entrance into the billiard room is stunning, legendary celluloid (sold me) (sold cliff hook line and sinker and his full monty went into testosterone overdrive) (censored). "Tell mama...tell mama all about it" (count me in!). A timeless film, theme and subject still relevant today and a Top 150 film of all-time to this viewer reviewer, higher than most here. note one: one person's thoughts on this classic i echo, 'the greatest film ever about america' 1951 by charlie chaplin (ditto easy) (and the film 'america beauty' wasn't released yet) note two: agree with nina entirely on film/novel differences, disagree on film's historical status and in hindsight female star role reversal as extremely interesting...
A Place in Hell
Although based on Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this movie dumbed down the story and pulled the typical Hollywood trick of making the dumped (murdered) girl obnoxious (Shelley Winters) and the aspired girl gorgeous and rich (Elizabeth Taylor) to help justify the male lead (Montgomery Clift)'s despicable actions. In the book, the murder victim was a nice girl from a poor family who loved Clyde (renamed George in the movie). He pressured her to have sex with him, and she naively and foolishly did. She ends up pregnant. He should have married her and they would have been fine as a married couple, having come from the same social class. But he saw the rich girl as his ticket to a life of wealth and ease. And for that reason he murdered his girl friend. The point being that the rich girl didn't have to look like Elizabeth Taylor and this was no case of true love; all that mattered was her money. So I agree with the posts that suggested that, to make this a better movie, they should have cast Elizabeth Taylor as the poor girl and Shelley Winters as the rich girl. At least that way viewers would have gotten the point that George was a greedy murderer, not some lovesick sympathetic hero. The actual story was compelling. Sad that Hollywood dumbed it down just to make it a soap opera vehicle for Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.
A place in the sun
- Jeff Boston
is what is needed to stay awake during this dreamy and dreary super-soaper. A place in the sun is what is needed for George to dry out his soiled soul. A place in the sun is what is needed to expose this film as a non-Essential, overrated all of these years due to the novel from which it was based, its director, and its stars casting such a long shadow.
A more than predictable story, but with (the great) Shelly Winters kicking her inimitable whining act into 5th gear. I liked this picture, as I really enjoy Mr. Clift and Ms. Taylor do their thing around this time of their lives. But the whining Winters barking orders at Clift made me want to kick in my TV screen!. The direction the writers wanted for Ms.Taylor is fairly straightforward at this career juncture, with her desire to bring a foxy man into her (non-a..hole) moneyed family in this way, but the manipulative, Whining Winters, playing it to the hilt makes me want to go hurt a puppy!!If you're not into this direction when Shelly pulls out all the stops with it, then walk...no, RUN as fast as possible in the opposite direction and watch a W.C.Fields film to clear your head out!! Because if you don't, you may end up damaging your television rig by continuing to watch Ms. Winters Whine away the minutes (hours?) and chip away at Clift's integrity.
A Place in the Sun with Liz
- Liz Fan
Hmmmm....So because Elizabeth Taylor is beautiful and rich, it is A-OK for Montgomery Cliff to murder Shelley Winters? George got the poor girl pregnant and then murdered her out of social ambition. Utterly despicable! Would all your sympathetic reviewers feel differently if Elizabeth Taylor played the poor pregnant murder victim and Shelley Winters played the spoiled rich girl? How on earth could social ambition justify murdering someone just because she had become inconvenient? When the murderer getting her pregnant is the reason she became inconvenient? George was a total rat and thank goodness got the fate he deserved.
All Have Sinned Alike
I am disappointed to see so many commenters who take away from this movie the lesson that you should stick to the straight and narrow, follow the rules, and especially not go lusting after women who are out of your league. That's completely wrong! The point is that everyone can give in to temptation, so remember, you're not any better than those unfortunates who do and get punished for it. In fact, we find many people writing about what a rat George is. In the story, he was tempted beyond his limit, and what a temptation Elizabeth Taylor was! But I at least admit it could have happened to me, when I was a a younger man. I like to think I wouldn't prepare to kill anyone, but how would I really know? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
A Must See.
I love this movie. I know some ppl say it's over dramatic, and I'll give you that. But it doesn't take away from what a great story it is, and the execution of it. Montgomery Clift is superb as George Eastman. You really feel for him, and he conveys just how desperate he is to crawl out of the lower class. It's terrible to feel such annoyance at Shelley Winter's character Alice. You should feel bad for her but you just want her to go away. I don't know if Elizabeth Taylor is great in it, but she's so amazingly beautiful, just breathtaking. Between the money of the Eastman family and Angela (E. Taylor) you understand George's desperation. You should at least watch it once.
An American Tragedy In The Sun Revisited
- Lawrence Welk
K.S. correctly chided H.A.C. for failure to proofread the garbled quotation regarding having the poor with us always but not so the Son of man at the time He said His exact words (33 AD)! H.A.C. meant to express the futility of capitalizing on class distinctions since they never go away & it only adds to the general misperception that the rich are snobs, the bourgeois are blameworthy, & the poor are envious! Were all 3 ranks to respect the Giver of life, tragedy would be far from them!
It's a bit dull this movie. I know the stars are attractive and it's well directed but what is it about it that makes this film feel so stiff and dated? The music gets in the way. So much is over wrought and heavy. Seeing it once is probably enough.
The story behind A PLACE IN THE SUN
A PLACE IN THE SUN is based on Theodore Dreiser's novel AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY. That book was a fictionalized account of a real case involving the Gillette family. Chester Gillette murdered the poor woman he had gotten pregnant by taking her out on a rowboat, thrashing her with his tennis racquet, and causing her to drown. He was caught, prosecuted, convicted and electrocuted. The case and his electrocution took place in 1908. Pity his poor victim: a poor woman gets pregnant back in the days of no contraception, no legal abortions, and social lack of acceptance of pregnancy outside of marriage. She is dumped by the guy who got her pregnant. In those days, her situation was truly tragic. The heel ruined her life, and then, even worse, he murdered her. Who cares if Elizabeth Taylor was beautiful or if Montgomery Clift played George as conflicted? Why so little sympathy for Shelly Winters' character? George was utterly despicable. Elizabeth Taylor's character dodged a bullet.
A Place in the Sun
- Michael Whitty
A powerful tragedy with Montgomery Clift trying to fit in with his wealthier inlaws and meeting up with attractive Liz Taylor but also Shelley Winters whose death puts Clift in court. George Stevens won an Oscar for directing this black-and-white intriguer as we see Clift make some wrong decisions and pay a price. George Stevens may have been the best director of the 50s and he followed this with "Shane", "Giant", and "The Diary of Anne Frank". Elizabeth Taylor became a hot Hollywood actress with this one as her close-ups here were magnified wonderfully.
response to previous reviewer
- kevin sellers
Who says soap opera is incompatible with social commentary? Apparently Ms. Clichae has not read or remembered her Dickens. As for the Biblical quote Ms. Clichae garbled, it reads "The poor you will always have with you but you will not always have me." Not quite sure what it has to do with this film, though. Perhaps Ms. Clichae will enlighten us.
An American Tragedy in the Sun
Leave it to Dreiser & Hollywood to turn a perfectly tragic tragedy into a sumptuous soap opera & classify it as social commentary! Who was it who said 'the poor you will have with you will have with you always'?!
A Place in the System
I agree that the film cannot compare with the novel, and that Burr becomes distracting by trying too hard, but otherwise, it's a fine and honorable attempt to get Dreiser on screen under the prevailing mores (Wyler would have problems in this regard with Sister Carrie) and Maltin is all wet that the film is "outdated" -- the only anachronistic element is that in 1951, America still made stuff!
place in the sun
- kevin sellers
Powerful look at the American class system, circa 1952. (Not much has changed, except that there's a bigger gap between the rich and the rest.) In what may well be his best performance, Montgomery Clift is George Eastman, a young man who loathes poverty and worships wealth to such a degree that he'll commit murder to keep from staying in the working class with blubbery, whiny Alice (effectively played by a blubbery, whiny Shelley Winters.) Clift uses his body to great effect in expressing various moods; weakness, anger, envy, embarrassment. He almost doesn't have to talk for you to understand his character, although Clift puts tones of self pity, longing, and servility to good use, as well. I'm a big Bogie fan, but Clift really shoulda won the Oscar over Bogart's Charlie Allnut, a much less complicated role. As for Liz Taylor, what can you say? Through her performance you can understand, although not sympathize with, George's desire to kill in order to stay in "the sun" of Angela's glamorous, protective beauty. I use the word "protective," because, with George, Angela is both mother and lover, which was pretty kinky stuff for 1952. This film does have a couple flaws. The trial scene, featuring as it does one of my least favorite actors, Raymond Burr, (basically, this guy was good as Torvald in "Rear Window" and nothing else) is a snore and there should have been scenes of George growing up poor on the streets of Chicago, as there were in Dreiser's novel, to give understanding of George's visceral hatred of the lower orders. Let's give it an A minus. P.S. I love the burly, over coated, cigarette smoking guy who George stumbles on as he tries to run away and who growls "You're under arrest." Is he a symbol of fate? I've always thought so.
Elizabeth Taylor is breathtaking!!!! Tell Momma tell Momma all. Montgomery Clift is tortured and delivers an outstanding performance. This movie draws you in and was based on a true story. Shelley Winters once again plays the tossed aside woman! Great movie!
An object lesson in following the rules.
- Mr. Mark
This movie is a good morality lesson. IF only George Eastman had obeyed the company conduct rules, he would not have become involved with Alice Tripp, who would not have become pregnant. His life would have then flowed, without impedence, into the world of Angela Vickers and the life he wanted. How often have each of us missed good things in life by making impulsive choices?Clift's character, George Eastman, is however, a spiritual weakling, because his moods and morality shift with the wind. He is an extreme example, but I rarely meet people whose ethics are not, to some degree, situational. George might, therefore, be hard to sympathize with, but not necessarily easy to judge.
There's No Place in the Sun for Shady Men
Quintessentially, it's Let's Make a Deal. Door number 1, 2, or 3? George Eastman, a fidgety, wired loner from a poor family, picks Door Number 1. He lands a low-level factory job through his family connections and quickly falls for the first smile (Shelly Winters) on the assembly line. He courts her, cages her, beds her then DREADS her when he realizes, "Gosh, I should have picked door number 2, " which turns out to be Elizabeth Taylor in all her radiant beauty. And lo and behold, rich girl Liz begins to like Georgie back. Suddenly, he realizes, dang...I could really go BIG with a millionaire's daughter. Why am I playing small with the assembly line gal? And just when he decides to put all of his chips on Liz, Shelly announces she's "in a family way." Now what? He's mad for Liz, but he's impregnated poor Shelly in the tenement house. He hatches a plan to take Shelly on a little canoe ride to talk things over when whoops! Shelly goes overboard and accidently drowns. How convenient. Now he can do Door number 2 with Liz and live happily ever after. Not so fast. This little town has a heck of a police force and prosecutor who decide the drowning was not accidental. Long story short, George ends up with Door number 3--the electric chair in the Big House--and is left with the haunting silhouette of Liz in her chiffon gown. Moral of the story: Bad decisions lead to bad outcomes. AND--don't jump on the first train out of town just because it's on the track. Wait awhile and see where some other trains are headed.
disturbing for that time 1951
It was a well written and acted movie for its time (1951) with famous movie stars. But I found it disturbing about the content of planning a murder of a pregnant woman because George Eastman lusted and loved another woman and agree with the other reviewer. If this was a real case, I agree with the verdict, even though he didn't kill her, he didn't save her life either and that is as equal to killing her.
Great artistic film. I hate to watch it.
While I would admit Monty is a good actor, I can never watch him and forget he is just acting. And E. Taylor, a beauty who made most female stars jealous . Her voice does not match her exterior. Her voice became an iritant. A lot of female voices have the same effect on me as running your fingernails down a black board. Its not so bad in this flic, but by the time she made "Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf", the voice fit the part perfectly.The subject matter for myself, and for some other critics was just too over the top. A story about an ax murderer is easy to watch compared to Clift's character, who gets a little on the side, to satisfy his sex life. I can't forgive him for his awful puritanical mother. A lot of us had mothers who were jealous of our wives and girl friends. So he gets the girl pregnant (before the pill and abortions were legal). So he kills her to solve his problem? The writer's may have attempted to give him some humanity by confusing whether he would really have killed her. But there is no doubt in my mind. He was a world class jerk. I also could not understand how Taylor's character could have fallen in love. Yes, Cliff was handsome, or so I am told. But he always came across to me as cranky, artsy, and "vunerable". That type may appeal to woman, but Cliff could never play a really masculine role. I thought he was just awful in the "Misfits". Taylor could never played MM's part in that film. Taylor was never a soft. feminine actress. Too much like Katherine Hepburn who always seemed to have a chip on her shoulder.I never paid to see a film with E. Taylor, at least I can't recall seeing her in all those epics that cost the industry a bundle. The best I can say of her career was that she lasted longer than most "actreses" of her day.
I can't enjoy this film because the subject matter is so heinous. To plan to murder a pregnant woman because you lust for another woman is just more than I can take! Clift and Taylor are at their most beautiful in every scene but it doesn't compensate for the subject matter. The film does not follow the novel either. This film is often called a "social commentary" but the times haven't changed and this type of crime is as heinous today as it would have been in 1951. Guys still get girls pregnant and then drop them for another woman and, in the famous CA Peterson case and others, guys still kill their significant others for the same reasons. No. I won't watch this film again! Beauty can be very, very ugly!
Taylor and Clift are unforgettable...
Even if the premise is dated (let's not forget the context in which this story was told), it's still a great film and a classic that rightly earned its kudos. Taylor and Clift are arguably at their most beautiful and unforgettable here; their palpable passion is matched by the rock-solid performance Shelley Winters delivers. Incidentally, it was this film that got me interested in Clift's body of work...he was and still is the best at the Method (better than Brando, in my opinion).
A Place in the Sun
- Dashiell B.
An entertaining adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's story about class warfare. Taylor shines in a more mature role as a wealthy young woman whose longed for by Clift, in an Oscar-nominated performance, who already impregnated Winters, another Oscar-nominated performance. Stevens won his first Academy Award for his perfect direction, also won for it's adaptation, photography, costumes, editing & score. Great performances & engaging story overrides the aged story. I give it a 4/5.
A Place In The Sun
Montgomery Clift is in top shape as the love-tortured George Eastman. With dear soul mate, Elizabeth Taylor, the duo creates such a presence that the feeling lingers with you long after watching the movie. It's truly "marvelous" as Monty would say. Also, watching this really shows how much Monty loved his Bessie Mae. There are just some things you can't fake, & it's written all over his face. He meant every single word that was said. I know it because his performance said it all for me. Watch and see for yourself. Also, the director makes wonderful use of angling which evoke very strong emotion in each of the scenes. This craft is something that is gradually becoming extinct as nowadays people can just edit scenes wherever they want. But, Stevens has a way of using these angles and staying on them for a good 10-20 seconds, allowing magic to simply blossom. This film is timeless and forever holds a place in my heart. Watch for yourself and see. I and so many others can only say so much with words.
...and don't forget Frieda Inescort
Of course, this is a film where Elizabeth Taylor can only be described as gorgeous beyond belief. But don't miss Frieda Inescort as ET's mother. Ms. Inescort may best be remembered as playing the haughty sister, Miss Bingley in "Pride and Prejudice" (1940) and the wife of lawyer Joyce in "The Letter" (1940) (IMHO - Bette Davis' best performance). At any rate, APitS is a stunner - all around.
Desire vs. Action
This movie makes you quetion is desire as great as action, will true love follow you anywere.After watching this you now the answer.
- Bill Watkins
Mr. Osbourne loves this, I know--not my cup of tea, not very happy or uplifting, hard to sympathize with the idiot Clift character--a long way to go to see someone bite the dust!!!!!!!
A PLACE IN THE SUN
- HEIDI ELIZBETH HEGLAR
I REALLY LOVED THIS MOVIE. Elizabeth Taylor is breathtaking. She was 18 years old. 1951. I can say Violet eyes was so pretty. Her eyes Amazing. To Think She is One month younger than my father. I am 42 and will say they do not make movies like the old ones anymore. Just also thinking today when you compare the older movies those where the good old days in America and I can say growing up I lived in the good times of America, those days are gone. The children of today will never live in the good old days. Never thought I would say I have. Look around now 2010 & you know what I mean. Look at safety, I could play in my yard and be safe. That is just one thing. Back to this movie which not many seem to appreciate the black and white ones. Amazing cinematography, the extreme close-ups are so effective. George Stevens Great job directing this film. This is one of Montgomery Clift's & Shelley Winters best. Favorite 4 me. movies. ltime performances of all time. Elizabeth Taylor is breathtaking. Amazing cinematography, the extreme close-ups are so effective. The whole film just clicks and works so well.
VELVET BROWN GREW UP, AND HOW!
- Derrick Ivory
Let's get down to the fact's, The actor who made this film is a International Star, the director is excellent Mr. George Stevens know's how to Dircet, The cast is also grand, Montgomery Clift and Shelley Winters are more than proven actor's. I will not leave out MS. Anne Revere who had a small part, that did not show her abilities, If you are blessed, you will see her on TCM. Now let's talk Liz Taylor, her spellbound Close-up's and lith-model's torso was prevalent in the scene when Monte Clift was in the billard room. Monte Clift was the loaner who wanted more. Listen people, the star that is dim, will sometime's take you farther than the one that is Shining the brightest. Alice Tripp vs Angela Vickers. One more thing how can a direct descendent of Paul Revere be UN-AMERICAN.
A place in the sun
this movie stinks
It's a good thing they titled it the way they did, it is so far removed from the far better novel.
An amazing movie
I have seen this movie many, many times and I will continue to watch it every time it is run. Liz and Monty - what a couple! The close up scenes of these two are breathtaking, sometimes I can hardly stand it, the feeling is so intense when they are on the screen together. Shelly Winters certainly played against type and wonderfully. The casting of the roles was perfect. Monty should have won the Oscar, but then again, he always made acting look so easy.
A Place in the Sun (1951)
- Jay Higgins
George Stevens does an amazing job directing this incredible film. This is one of Montgomery Clift's finest performances, if not his best. Shelley Winters is absolutely amazing - one of my favorite performances of all time. Elizabeth Taylor is breathtaking. Amazing cinematography, the extreme close-ups are so effective. The whole film just clicks and works so well.
It doesn't get much better than this!
This is one of my all time favorite movies. Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift are so beautiful in this movie. Although the plot is dark somehow the movie doesn't seem that way. Clift's character is reaching for the stars and is just on the brink. The acting is so superb by everyone in the movie. It is always worth the watch.
- Linda Atkinson
In my review I mentioned Angela Lansbury instead of the of course great Shelley Winters...ooopppsss. Must have Lansbury in the brain from watching National Velvet and Gas Light.
One Of The Greats
Great plot, great acting, great cast. What can get much better than Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Angela Lansbury and Raymond Burr?
- Elli Harvey
Is the version circulated today edited??? I noticed there were no underwater scenes and a winter scene in the one I saw recently. Anyone know?
A Place in the Sun
I saw this movie just last. And though I didn't see all of it, I loved it! I think this is one of my favorite Elizabeth Taylor movies.
Makes you want to fall in love
- Michael Robinson
The greatest romantic movie by far. Honestly who wouldn't want to fall in love with Elizabeth Taylor. I know i did by watching the film. Forget psycho girlfriend Shelly Winters. I loved it.
I saw this movie on TCM one night, and I fell in love with it. This is, so far, the 3rd Liz Taylor movie I've seen. The storyline reminds me of Woody Allen's film "Match Point", in a way, where the poor guy is dating the wealthy girl, but also has a fling with a poor girl (who becomes pregnant). I loved watching the scenes with the rich people dancing, because they don't have those nowadays. It was also strange to see Shelley Winters, because I've only seen her on "roseanne", which was about 40 years after this film came out! Also, Montgomery Cliff is amazing too.
Early teen years revisited
I first saw A Pace in the Sun on TV when I was about 14 years old. I remember being deeply affected by the relationship between Taylor and Clift. The film was probably the first really adult film I ever saw and the only reason I got to see it was I was baby sitting at a neighbor's house. And since I wasn't being "babysat" by my parents (who, I feel sure, would not have approved of my watching it) I could take that significant step toward adulthood!
One of the best old school classics.
This movie is great. Liz is beautiful and Shelly played a great role also,(she even looked good). Bravo...Watch it, you won't be disappointed.
elizabeth & montgomery Beautiful, but shelly !
liz and monty were never more beautiful than in this film,the close up kiss between these two beauties is worth the price of admission, but for shelly winters to step ouside her glamour girl image, she was fantastic! The perfect image of the desperate girl "in trouble", so pathetic and annoying and tragic. this was a career changing film for her, and she fought for it and nailed it. even i wanted to drown her, especially if i got elizabeth taylor.
This is such a tragic movie, I love watching the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor so carefree and in love, This is Montgomery Clift at his most handsome, Shelley Winters plays the poor girl not to be outdone by the rich beauty - she's gonna have her man-no matter what!-- It's one of my favorite movies! Of course Elizabeth Taylor is one of our last greatest screen stars- long live the greatest 'broads' ever.. 'Dame Elizabeth!'fyi:(if you enjoy dishing on the Brad/Angelina/Jen triangle -Elizabeth had a similar triangle back in the day with Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds)