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
Although the score is credited to Aaron Copland, William Wyler disliked it, and had it heavily rewritten and reorchestrated, possibly by Hugo Friedhofer who had orchestrated many of Max Steiner's and Korngold's lush operatic Warner Bros. scores, and Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). What distinguished Copland from the usual Hollywood brand of orchestration was the simplicity and transparency of his scoring, and it was its spareness that so disturbed Wyler. The music sounds completely unlike any other piece of music Copland ever wrote, and it is no wonder he disowned it. Alex North, Copland's pupil, was more successful using this chamber music sound, notably in North's first film score A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). But Copland was ahead of his time. See more »
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 »
He's grown greedier over the years. Before he only wanted my money; now he wants my love as well. Well, he came to the wrong house - and he came twice. I shall see that he does not come a third time.
See more »
There is no doubt that "The Heiress" was a triumph for two great stars - Olivia de Havilland and Ralph Richardson. Made over 50 years ago, this film is still extremely watchable, and the performances stand up as good as anything today. de Havilland's Oscar was well and truly warranted, as this is an acting achievement which covers every range of emotion from innocence to cruelty in an amazing way. As the plain daughter of a very bitter man, she is able to convey the frustrations, hurt and bitter revenge in a way that is completely believable - just a stunning characterization. As the unfeeling father Ralph Richardson shows his class, and warranted Best Supporting Actor recognition. Montgomery Clift was miscast to a certain degree, but under William Wyler's direction, he got through Okay. But truly, the film belongs to the two headliners alone.
28 of 36 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?