A woman secretly suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an effort to cure her condition. Soon afterwards, she is found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there and seemingly no way to prove her innocence.
An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married.
In 1844, the Wells family lives in a small farm of their own in Greenwich, Connecticut and the sons and daughters have a rigid discipline and religious education from the patriarch Ephraim Wells. When his wife Abigail Wells receives a letter from her wealthy distant cousin Nicholas "Nick" Van Ryn inviting one of her daughters to live with his wife Johanna Van Ryn and him nursing their daughter Katrine Van Ryn, the naive Miranda Wells gets excited with the perspective of traveling. Her mother convinces Ephraim to let her go and Miranda travels with her father to New York. They meet Nick and they learn that he is a patroon of farmers at the Hudson Valley. Then Miranda travels to the Dragonwyck mansion where she is introduced to the voracious Johanna and the sweet Katrine and to the housekeeper Magda. Miranda also meets Dr. Jeff Turner, who is a sort of leader of the farmers that work for Nicholas, in a party and befriends him. Soon she notes that Katrine is neglected by her parents. ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As Miranda and Van Ryn dance through the doorway from the balcony into the ballroom, she holds her closed fan in her hand. When the shot changes after they enter the room, the fan dangles from her wrist. See more »
Johanna Van Ryn:
What can you possibly do up there?
Nicholas Van Ryn:
Possibly? Anything from pinning butterflies to hiding an insane twin brother. Actually, I read. I hope that my explanation satisfies you?
See more »
"Dragonwyck" has the atmosphere of a Hawthorne's tale. Typical is the contrast between the clean, blessed New England farm where Miranda (Gene Tierney) lives with her parents, and the bleak, doomed ancient manor where she goes and later marries the aristocratic Van Ryn (Vincent Price). Gene Tierney's angelic beauty and wholesome look perfectly fit to a romantic heroine in Hawthorne's style: she recalls the Phoebe Pyncheon of "The house of seven gables" (the novel; I haven't seen the movie). Miranda shows another typical aspect of Hawthorne's heroines: differently from the classical romantic maiden, Miranda is not apt to be a meek innocent victim of the force of evil, but she is ready to face it and to fight for her life. Note Tierney's skill in entering into the personality of the characters she plays. She was a pattern of sex-appeal in movies such as "Laura" and "Leave Her to Heaven": here her Miranda is an example of maidenly modesty. From her arrival to the castle the scenes become increasingly darker. The black-and-white photography is outstanding. Vincent Price gives his usual superb performance in the role of the mysterious Van Ryn, whose extreme haughtiness and family pride drive him to madness. Of course, nowadays we follow the story of "Dragonwyck" with a certain amount of irony, yet, perhaps for this very reason, the movie is a treat. I wish current movies were like it (and also that present actresses had a beauty comparable to Gene's, but this is plainly unimaginable).
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