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SCREENING #6: A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)

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The first half of our lectures will be closed by the classic melodrama “A Place in the Sun”, directed by George Stevens (1904-75), which is based on novelist Theodore Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy”. The story is about a career-oriented young man of poor origins whose plain and pregnant girlfriend becomes source of his distress after meeting the blue-blooded girl of his dreams.

The stars of this film are Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor (2 times Academy Award winner), Shelley Winters (2 times Academy Award winner), Raymond Burr and Anne Revere (Academy Award winner).

Charlie Chaplin praised as “Place in the Sun” to be “the greatest movie ever made about America” and it won six Academy Awards (Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Score, Best Cinematography, Best Costumes and Best Editing) and a Golden Globe for the Best Picture (at the institution’s first installment it became the first motion picture in history to win this price).

Although the film was released in 1951, it was shot in 1949. Paramount Studios had already released its blockbuster Sunset Boulevard in 1950 when this film wrapped. The studio did not want what was sure to be another blockbuster in this film competing for Oscars with “Sunset Boulevard” so it waited until 1951 to release this film, which actually pleased the director, as he would use the extra time to spend editing the film.

Montgomery Clift was a method actor and top male star in the 50s, competing with Marlon Brando. He was planned to play Joe Gillis of Sunset Boulevard, but turned the role down to be too close to his real life (the role was written for him). In general, he was very picky for his roles and therefore stood out with great performances in great movies, for example in “Red River” (with John Wayne, 1948), “I Confess” (directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1951), “Raintree Country” (with Elizabeth Taylor again, 1957), The Young Lions (with Marlon Brando, 1958), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), The Misfits (with Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, 1961) and Freud (1962). However, his private life was not a happy one (probably mainly because he was struggling to hide his homosexuality). During the filming of Raintree Country he experienced a serious car accident, which almost got him killed and from which he had never psychologically recovered. After plastic face surgery, he became dependent on painkillers and alcohol. When he appeared with Marilyn Monroe in “Misfits”, she famously described him in an interview as “the only person I know who is in even worse shape than I am.” Clift passed away at the young age of 45 in 1966.

On a side note, Anne Revere who plays Clift’s mother in A Place in the Sun, became of the victims of the “Second Red Scare” blacklisting because of her supposed “liberal” politics. After this film she did not appear in another movie until 1970.

IMDb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043924/?ref_=nv_sr_2

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26 responses to “SCREENING #6: A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)

  1. Snow Fairy ⋅

    This film definitely wraps up the first half of the semester well, and is reminiscent of some of the previous screenings (Sunrise especially). Maybe it was just the course’s lineup, but did old Hollywood have this theme or genre of men wanting to kill their wives or girlfriends? This definitely topic definitely isn’t done now, but we have already seen two films from old Hollywood where it was not only used, but used in a film that was successful for its time.
    What I would like to talk about are the characters. Specifically, I want to talk about George Eastman. George Eastman seems like a generally bad person. He first eyes Angela Vickers at the Eastman estate. When he is ignored, he immediately sets his objectifying sights on Alice, a poor factory worker. The whole time he is with Alice, he seems to just want her body and eventually gets his way. Then, Angela suddenly notices him and so not only does he continue to string the now pregnant Alice on, but also cheats on her with Angela. The whole movie George is this horrible model that men can use, lie to, string along, and cheat on women.

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  2. Beyonslay

    Can white men please stop drowning their wives?

    First, it was Sunset. Now, it’s A Place In The Sun. COMMON GUYS, let’s stop cheating and drowning people. Okay?

    I found this film really interesting. If they didn’t reference Sunset in their interviews or analysis of the film, they would be lying. This film is so obviously based on the earlier film, both with the fair-haired victim, and the dark-haired “other woman”. However, there are some very obvious differences.

    One thing I really liked about the film was that Liz Taylor’s character wasn’t a morally reprehensible character. She was a good girl. Sure, she flirted, she went out drinking and dancing. But ultimately, she was a kind, forgiving, outgoing socialite who was victimized as well as the poorer woman. I think that while Ms. Vickers wasn’t a typical “femme fatale”, she sure was engineered with one in mind. Her shorter dark hair in contrast to the longer blonder woman was an obvious nod to the femme fatales of earlier times. Also, she was inarguable a “city girl”. I found it interesting that they made the choice to change the femme fatale and make her more moral. This helped to highlight the fact that every problem the man faced was HIS OWN FAULT.

    Yep, I said it. That man was 100% responsible for every set-back of his in the film. Also, he was clearly a sexual predator. He moved seats at the theater with the intention of flirting with Alice, followed her once she said it was time for her to go home, tricked her by turning on and blasting the radio so that he could go inside and turn it down, and proceeded to make sexual advances on her until she slept with him. He used not only his inherent power being a man, and having male privilege, but also his power as an Eastman to sleep with her. Whether this was intentional or not (and I believe it was), he cornered a woman who worked at the company his family ran, who knew that she couldn’t sleep with (or even socialize with) the men at the company, and having the inherent power his name comes with (which Alice predicted), forced her to sleep with him. Sure, she had a crush on him, and she like him, but he used every tool at his disposal to develop a sexual relationship with her. Her physicality in the scenes early on in the film illustrate how unnerved she was and hesitant to start any kind of relationship with him, and yet he ignored that, not having any kind of healthy dialogue, and pursued her until she gave him what he wanted. Unfortunately, she gave him MORE than what he wanted by becoming pregnant.

    See, it would have been easy to dump her if she wasn’t pregnant, but once she was pregnant, she reclaimed her power that was stripped from her by George, and demanded that he make good on all the bull he had been telling her. She demanded what she deserved, and by attempting to strip his totalitarian power away from him, she was killed. Be careful ladies, reclaiming your power as a woman will get you killed by the more powerful man, but relenting and forgiving him for murder will grant you life (I’m looking at you, Ms. Vickers).

    That prosecutor, by the way, was 100% correct with is assessment of what happened after the boat capsized.

    Another thing that I think is really interesting about this film is why Liz Taylor’s character was so much more appealing to him than Alice. For me, it boils down to George’s context as a character at the beginning of the film. Let’s look at his mother, a pious, meek woman, who lives in poverty and carries a depressive air about her. I noticed there’s another character with those sets of characteristics in the film as well – Alice. Alice is George’s symbolic mother figure. She remembers his birthday, she waits up for him, she has the same character traits, and she loves him unconditionally. Similarly to George’s abandonment of Alice does he abandon his mother, her moral code, his upbringing, and the pious morality of his childhood in killing Alice. As he abandons the moral code of his impoverished childhood, so does he ascend into the ranks of the blue-blooded elite. There isn’t anything about Taylor’s character that George falls in love with more than what she represents -status. He didn’t have status. He was meretricious in that his name was elite, meanwhile he was poor to the very core of his personhood. He tried to become something he wasn’t and was transformed for the worse.

    An interesting view one might be able to take from this film is that the film is telling the poor that they’re inherently different from the rich. If George had stayed within his socio-economic class and married Alice, he wouldn’t have faced the electric chair. He would, however, have been kicked out of the company, ensuring the subjugation of his character as a poor man, and destroying the possibility of social ascension, but that’s what the film shows as the moral high road. Meanwhile, the rich girl, who is completely faultless, was betrayed and tricked by a poor man trying to be something he wasn’t. One can take from this film that it is a statement on class warfare. This film truly is American, in that it hates poor people too.

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    • Maxine ⋅

      A Place in the Sun shared many similar themes to previous movies we watched before. The first movie we watched, “Sunrise” had the most similarities to A place in the Sun. I mean, both of their titles have the word “sun” in it. I felt like “A place in the Sun” is somewhat of a more modern version of “Sunrise”. The Synopsis of both films are about a committed man having an affair on the richer, classier, exciting, more modern woman. Both men even tried to drown their wives after asking to go on a boat date. The only difference is that Angela is not a slimy home-wrecker and George gets punished at the end.

      George’s punishment also correlates to “Angles with Dirty Faces”. Both Rocky and George committed a crime on society and therefore must be punished. Also Jesse James died at the end of the movie. It seemed like the only way to redeem yourself of your sins is to pay back with your life.

      I thought George was the worst kind of person. He only thinks about his feelings and not other peoples. Do I think he should have ditched Alice for Angela? YES! I do not think it would have been a healthy environment for George to marry Alice. However, he should take responsibility and be honest with all parties involved (Although he would probably end up with no one at the end).

      As for Alice, it takes two to tango. George was a bit forceful, but she should have stood her ground. The baby is 1/2 her fault as well and as a woman she should have understood the risk she was taking even if George felt like the one at the time.

      I think Angela was played around more than Alice. She was clueless and felt like George was 100% committed to her. She put her reputation, career, and family on the line for him and all he can do is manipulate her. George saw her as an object and not as a person. He was in love with the idea of have a beautiful model, not the person she really was.

      I think George’s self esteem is what drove him to create lies and then murder (he didn’t push her but he admitted to not really saving her). He can call himself both a son of a rich and poor family. embarrassed by his poor side, he chooses to do everything in his power to leave everything that had to do with poverty and embrace the status of an “Eastman”.

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    • Maxine ⋅

      Hello Beyonslay,

      Your analysis on how plain and dull Alice was to Angela was very interesting. I do agree with you that Alice represents the past poverty he faced while living with his mom. Alice is a reminder of what he is ashamed of the most. Compared to the fun lavish party where he meets Angela, Alice’s private party is very simple. However, it is warmer and friendlier environment. Alice, compared to Angela is more nurturing to George while Angela is more fun and playful. George is in the middle of two worlds; rich and poor. To choose one world, he must leave the other.

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  3. sumdood ⋅

    Hmm, this film reminds me of a previous film…

    But here we go again with me and love story rants. Where is the development? Just like the movie we watched before, the “love” seem to just come out of nowhere. Ok, I guess for the first girl it did technically show the lapse in time but it didn’t really show Eastman and what’s-her-face worker girl do anything to develop any interest in one another. (Oh, her name is Alice.) Now for second girl, Angela: the rich one. No development. He meets her and sees her once at the party, already has a partner (who’s pregnant), and bam, nevermind, I love this girl instead. I’m going to give up everything I’ve done with the previous girl and hmm, maybe I can… drown her? (She can’t swim after all… AND funnily enough she even works at a swimsuit company). Is drowning a solution to everything in America….

    So yeah. I guess in earlier American films, the development on love isn’t very, well… developed. It probably isn’t just love either, it could be plot as a total. As films progressed, the process of development got refined over and over again until we get to what we have today (though, that doesn’t mean every modern movies’ progression is “good”.)

    Ok, a little more on love. I think Alice was a little too obsessed; obsessed enough to the point where she got kind of annoying. I know, I know, the guy is the one that messed up but I don’t know… did she really still love him or did she want to stay with him because she had nothing else left? In a way, I felt Eastman just used her as an object of his desires and Alice just took it all as “love”.

    There was probably some of this in previous movies we watched, but in this movie, it was blatantly obvious. Foreshadowing. The radio just happened to be on at the right time saying things along the lines of “don’t swim”. We saw that drowning thing coming from 10 miles away.

    The way they ended it was interesting. He got a guilty verdict and it showed him walking down the hall towards his death then it just ended. We can probably safely assume he was executed, but we don’t know for sure. Speaking of verdicts, during the court case, I felt that he actually want to save Alice. We can’t tell if he really did or not, but from the way he was acting I feel like he didn’t really want her to die. Guess the judge thought otherwise.

    Oh! One more thing. I remember in one scene where Eastman was talking to Angela, and whenever the camera was on her, it changed to a super soft, bright, shot that made her look dreamy and more beautiful. Guess that was for emphasis, but I’m pretty sure that’s how Eastman was seeing her as well. Control yourself, man…

    All in all, It was a good movie. I can see why it got so much praise and awards and agree that it deserved them.

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  4. emicanna ⋅

    As someone mentions in the comment, I agreed that this film perfectly summarized the first half of this course. I could see several elements from previous films as well. Especially, the theme, plot, and the heavily used black and white contrast are definitely essential of the films for this certain era. I felt that the theme is really similar to the last movie “Sunset Blvd.” The story of a man and women which money and social conditions heavily involved clearly reflected social changes of this period. I believe that back in 1950’s, the whole country of America was in the process of recovery from the WW II and economic fail. People had been gotten through the dark and harsh times, so that a lot of people were desperate for money, and also people are very insecure to believe in someone else at the moment. As a result, during this time people often leaned on the hypocrisy of American Christianity. I assume that is the main reasons of 50’s films tend to reflect social unstableness and fears of people. One thing I was kind of surprised about these films was, the lies and betrays are frequently used as one of elements of the topic in the similar plot. That makes me understand how people are anxious and insecure of others. For instance, “The Night Of The Hunter (1955)” is also a story about a guy killed women, and the another preview screening films, “Angeles with Dirty Faces” and “Jesse James” also depicts the betrays and the lies. Moreover, as another aspect that I want to pint out is that the contrast of black and white and use of sounds are one of significant characteristic of 50’s movies. Obviously, the director often applied the lighting and shadows in order to distinguish the good and evil character in films. In “A place in the Sun”, the scene where George and Alice is together, tended to use shadow, it was almost black, on the other hand, Angela always showed up as bright. Above all these elements, I strongly felt this film was a great tied up kind of film of this course at this moment.

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  5. Mikako ⋅

    What I liked most was the characters, especially George. There were three different characteristics of him in the film. In the first part of the film, George seemed honest and fresh, and I thought he was a handsome guy. But after the he met the rich girl, his behavior has changed. He looked he became the part of rich groups and had confidence. Due to  having too much self-confidence, he thought he could kill his girlfriend, I think. But after the girlfriend was killed, he was not part of the rich groups anymore, and his mind was somewhere else even though the rich girl was talking to him. I really liked his acting after he killed his girlfriend. 

    This plot and main three characters are similar to “Sunrise,” however, there is difference between the rich girl in “A Place in the Sun” and the city girl in “Sunrise.” Although both girls attract guys who have a girlfriend or a wife, the rich girl was innocent. She did not even know that George tried to kill his girlfriend and actually did it. I did not expect that the rich girl was not a bad girl. No one except George was to blame for the love triangle.
    Through the film, I enjoyed the story, characters, and music.     

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  6. TUYN ⋅

    I enjoyed the film “A Place in the Sun,” directed by George Stevens. While I was watching the film, I realized that how the story went was kind of similar to “Sunrise” we watched in the class. In both of the films, a man met a beautiful girl, and he felt obstructive towards the woman who he loved at first. And then, he tried to drown her in the lake. But, the difference between two films was if the woman died or not. In the “Sunrise,” the woman didn’t die, and the story ended happy, but in the “A Place in the Sun,” the woman died, and the story ended up sad.
    This film emphasizes the social status as this film was made in 1951 when people were still recovering from the war and there were big difference between people in lower class and people in upper class. George Eastman fell in love with two women. One is poor like him, and another is rich. It was very interesting to watch how people were treated depended on their social status, and triangle love between George, Alice, and Angela. I think this film was the best sad love story in 50’s.
    I personally wonder if Alice didn’t die accidentally, George started trying to love her again, and dump Angela because after George knew how much Alice loved him, he stopped thinking to drown her.

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  7. bluebird of happiness ⋅

    This movie made me thought about “Sunrise” that we saw in the beginning of this semester. The difference between “A Place in the Sun” and “Sunrise” is who the person is playing the evil character. In “Sunrise”, city girl is the one who is always wearing black and tries to seduce the male character to kill his wife and come to city with her. On the contrarily, the male character in “A Place in the Sun” is one who is evil and try to trick two innocent girls in the same time.
    During our class discussion, we were talking about did the guy kill the poor girl or not. As far as I am concerned, he didn’t kill the poor girl. We all know he is always telling a lie to the poor girl and trying to kill her. However, I think he feels guilty when the poor girl says she wants to die. When the guy feels guilty in all his movement, coincidentally, the poor girl walks to him and the boat flips over. The wound on the poor girl’s head might create by the paddle of the boat when the boat flips over.
    The male character is not a good guy, but I don’t like the poor girl either. Although I totally understand her situation and understand her action, she is too pushy sometimes that I will even think that if I were the guy, I will try to avoid her and run away from her.
    Sometimes I feel that the male character’s actions and lies are understandable. If he didn’t play the evil character; if the content of the plot is totally different; if he is a good guy in the story, it is allowable to tell a lie. It is so called white lie. I believe majority of people tell a white lie in different situation due to their own purposes. However, if telling a lie in order to kill the person, it is not allowable.

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  8. Ian Ulman ⋅

    To me, the most interesting thing about this film was that it made me dislike all of the characters.

    Usually, if a film has no likable characters I’ll point to that as a fault. It’s hard to really engage a film where you don’t like anybody. This was a little different though. Instead of not liking anyone, I actively disliked basically everyone.

    George initially seems like an affable guy just trying to carve out a better hand than he was initially dealt, but then it rapidly becomes apparent that he prefers girls over actually following rules. He throws out basically the only hard and fast rule he was given for a pretty face at the first opportunity.

    Alice isn’t much better. She starts out seeming nice and dutiful and exactly what George should want out of a girl, but as soon as things get hard she goes crazy. George treats her badly, and that’s inexcusable, but her threats of defamation and killing herself are uncalled for, especially since she always delivers them as though she’s totally hysterical. her total inability to calm down is scary, and made me dislike her too,

    Finally, every other character in the story is just kind of a snob. They’re all from the super-rich class, and it shows in how they behave and talk about people. The minor characters ooze wealth, and it’s kind of annoying.

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  9. bes ⋅

    As everyone mentioned this film is quiet similar to “Sunrise A Song of Two Humans” I kinda agree with that, and I prefer this film to Sunrise because there are much more elements that tell HUMANITY in this film I think.
    George Eastman, the main character, used to be a really fresh, nice, and honest man at first. He just wanted to be rich and escape from poverty. In other words, he was just chasing his American Dream. He came from his home town by hitch (as we saw in the very beginning) counting on his uncle, Mr. George. He worked very hard to be recognized by his uncle. Who can criticize him?
    Also, I can tell that George fell in love with Angela, the rich girl, even if he had a poor girlfriend, Alice. I do not say I would cheat with someone but I’m saying that I can sympathize him somewhat because George is like 20 something? still young man. He needs someone of course. At the same time, he used be a really poor and came to the city to be rich, and meet the ideal girl like a cinderella who is really beautiful, rich educated, and able to bring me up to the upper classes. Who can’t miss this opportunity?? I can’t help feel sorry to him. He just knew nothing the real world.
    AGAIN, I cannot accept what he did, especially he killed Alice (even it was an accident but he was aiming it too). Of course he should not have cheated, and he actually deserved it as the death penalty. But you know, as a man, I can sympathize him somewhat. It’s exactly “American Tragedy”.
    I thought the “place in the sun” means the upper classes society. And someone said in class that this film shows the reality that poor people cannot escape from their poverty and social class. I thought it makes sense and tells everything about this film.

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  10. Chloe ⋅

    As everyone says in the class, I think “A Place In The Sun” is really similar to “Sunrise” too which we watched before.
    The theme of both films is about male-female relationship that has different social class. George grows up in a poor family. In a story, we see that he becomes attracted to a rich woman named Angela although George already has someone else he is dating with named Alice. Actually, Alice is from countryside and she is not a rich person as Alice. So we see the setting of all main characters’ background is same as “Sunrise.”
    Also, since George falls in love with Angela, he is trying to drown Alice to death. Actually, he returns to consciousness and stops drowning Alice to death. The plot of this story is also same as “Sunrise.”
    One thing different from “Sunrise” is that Alice died eventually. When George comes up for trial, he pleads guilty to intention to kill, but he pleads not guilty to kill her. I think this is like a punishment for George’s cheating with Angela. I also think that this plot is similar to “Angels with Dirty Faces” because Rocky is finally found guilty in gangsterism.
    I like this film because it’s a story about the male-female relationship and focuses on money society and punishment.

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  11. Maddie

    “A Place In the Sun” was definitely not my favorite films, but I liked it for a few specific reasons. First off, I could clearly see a beginning, middle and end – George Eastman meets the other Eastmans and has relations with Alice, which I see as the very beginning of his downfall. It was clear that he should not have started his affair with her, so he was essentially starting off wrong right away. Then he finds Alice is pregnant, but falls in love with the angelic Angela Vickers anyway. His final downfall is when Alice dies and he (literally) runs from the situation and tries desperately to reach his goal: a life with Angela and the American Dream.
    It was interesting to hear that many people still debate over whether or not George killed Alice. For me it was clear that he simply did not save her from drowning. Yes, he wanted to save himself, but he is evidently guilty for leaving her to die. The main theme, besides the obvious “American Dream” is greed. George was brought down by this vice; he wanted to make it with his extended family, which would have brought him a better position at work. He also saw Angela as a free ride to the American Dream – a beautiful, rich wife who could show him the world. Sure he loved her, but would he still if she was in the same social position as Alice? No, probably not. On some level it was disheartening to see a man futilely strive for another life, when it seems that he was meant entirely for another with Alice. However, Montgomery Clift’s character was not likeable. He was silent but not so strong, selfish and unobservant.
    Whenever I hear that an actor practiced method acting for his/her character, I usually go “oooh, yes, I can see that”, but Clift’s character didn’t really come through to me in that extreme sense. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker was evidently one with his own being. He haunts and he horrifies, and for such an important character like that, it makes sense that he would go through with method acting. Clift’s performance was convincing and surely it was an important role – still important today- but it confuses me as to why he would put himself through method acting. His character was not so extreme and he was only in jail for probably 20 or so minutes of the film – only really pictured in jail for around 5. Perhaps that makes it even more impressive that he chose to method act, but I’m wondering if his character stands the test of time. Many have said that James Dean is not entirely timeless, so is Clift’s character timeless? I simply wish I would have felt more empathy for him, more sympathy that he lost his Dream and his life as well.

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  12. pinkpearl ⋅

    I thought that I would like this movie, at least I remembered that I did. But I guess watching a movie when you a an adult verses when you are a teenager is very different. As an I adult I did not like this movie. I did a little research and apparently Elizabeth Taylor said that she did not try when acting in her movies until she was in A Place in the Sun. Even if that is true, I still do not think that this was a good movie. Some of the story seemed to have some holes in it. I think that they should have talked more about his life before he arrived at the new town. However the thing I disliked most about the movie was the fact that at the end of the movie they seemed to concentrate more on the romance between the rich woman and the main character rather than the fact that he killed someone. I also think that she was stupid to stay by him even though he clearly was cheating on her and killed someone. To me, this movie was no romantic at all. 😦
    I feel that the people most close to him should have been more upset about the situation that he was in.

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  13. Gleb Torubarov ⋅

    I have never seen this picture before, but I was intrigued by it, as it is very acclaimed Hollywood classics. It is indeed, a very American film, and it shows a lot of details about the time period this film (and the book it based on) was made in. A Place in the Sun portrays strict views on entertainment, conservative love life, and horrible juridical system.

    The main achievement of A Place in the Sun is its actors and director. Montgomery Clift played amazing, and his characters and the way he acted reminded me about Raskolnikov from “Crime and Punishment”. Clift’s character appeared very uncertain, full of complexes, and confused with the dilemma he faces. Shelley Winters perfectly fits into lower class woman, and Eastman’s “good” mother-like girl, and Elizabeth Taylor appeared for me too much “pure” for the girl of her status. The director George Stevens became Dostoevsky – he carefully made us feel what the main character felt and what happened in Eastman’s head in certain scenes, especially during the drawn scene.

    Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the movie in general as despite of great acting and directing, I could not sympathize to the main character at all: for me, every action he took was wrong, and instead of feeling sorry for him (like for Raskolnikov), I felt disgust to him and wanted him to stop doing everything he does. Perhaps, it was impossible to fit a big novel into two-hour film, or perhaps the movie, sadly enough, got really old and doesn’t work for people the same way it did 73 years ago. The thing that keeps pretty much the same is the social class struggle – that was, is, and will be in America, and we can see this struggle in the face of one man, and other people on his way. This picture doesn’t make me optimistic about the future, neither it made others I suppose.

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  14. minnie ⋅

    The actress, Elizabeth Taylor is really beautiful, so I expect that many audiences were attracted by her. It is already mentioned by many of my classmates, but the film, “A Place in the Sun,” directed by George Stevens, seems that there are some similar scenes from two movies we watched: “Angels with Dirty Faces” and especially, “Sunrise.” In both “Sunrise” and “A Place in the Sun”, there are three main characters, one man and two women. The women are different because they have different appearance and nurtured in different family circumstance. The same things in both films are that the family of one of woman who has dark hair has more money and higher social status than another woman. The woman who has blond hair tends to be poorer. Also, there is a scene which the boat sinks accidentally and two characters draw while the man tries to kill blonde woman. Both “Sunrise” and “A Place in the Sun” includes that scene. Those are similarity between “Sunrise” and “A Place in the Sun”.
    On the other hand, in “Sunrise”, the blonde woman got her husband back after they went to the city. She seems more womanlike, weak, and pure compared with the woman from the city. However, a woman in dark hair got love from the man because the blonde woman pushes the man to get married with her. In “A Place in the Sun”, the characteristic of women were totally different even though the appearances are same in both films. This is an interested point.
    It is no really related, but I feel that the scene of the moment when right before the main character receiving death penalty, is also same as the scene of “Angels with Dirty Faces.” This is really small similarity, but I personally think that death penalty makes the story more sorrowful. Also, it is not related to the comment of the film, but the voice of an actress, Elizabeth Taylor, sounds little familiar to me. Later I realized that Taylor does the voice of Marge Simpson from the Simpsons!
    “A Place in the Sun” is really great movie.

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  15. lala ⋅

    I like this film especially the story plot. I thought the story plot is similar to Sunrise, the film which we saw first. George, the main character in A Place In The Sun, has a girlfriend; however, he falls in love with another woman. This relationship between these three characters is like a man, city girl, and a country girl.

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  16. This film was based on the book “An American Tragedy.” I think the real tragedy here is the failure of the American dream. George Eastman wanted to live the good life. He worked hard with the promise that he was going to move up socially. However, in the end, he failed in his dream, and ended up hurting others in the process.

    The American Dream is the premise that if you work hard, you can have a good house and a good life. There is an American myth that you can move up socially if you put in the effort, but this film reflects the disillusionment of that dream. Not only can you still work hard and get nothing for it, but you have to step on others on the way if you want to move up. Once George was starting to become successful, he started to look down on his current girlfriend. We even see this in the camera angles of her. In the beginning, she looked like an All American Girl, but as we see the glittering closeups of Elizabeth Taylor, the other girl just seems unappealing in comparison. The angles of the other woman are just unflattering and make her look unattractive, especially in the scene in the boat. She is actually very vulnerable and upset here, but she is portrayed in such an unattractive way. This could also reflect how as one acheives a higher class status, they begin to look down on others who are below them and abandon their own world and lifestyle.

    I would also like to comment on the prosecutor’s character. He seemed like a meek person when we first see him. He seems quiet and unassuming, with his glasses and limp. But in the courtroom, he is all fire and passion, and you can’t help but be convinved by his version of what happened on the lake. We really don’t know what happened. It’s ambiguous. But the prosecutor is convincing in his story. Actually, George should not have been fuond guilty of first degree murder, because there was still reasonable doubt that he actually willfully killed his girlfriend. He might have been found guilty of manslaughter, though.

    This reflects another reality in the American Dream myth: that the justice system claims that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, but there are many cases that this isn’t true. The American justice system cannot always provide the freedom that it promises its citizens.

    Really, I think George started out as a nice guy. He was raised to be a “good boy” by his overbearing Christian mother. He broke the first rule when he socialized with a woman from his company. And then it all snowballed when he got caught up with his social ambitions that he made some really horrible decisions. He took no responsibility for getting his girlfriend pregnant. I don’t understand his decisions. How long did he think he could keep up the charade? Was he planning to live a double life? He was a jerk. Yet, people do the same thing every day, both literally and figuratively. To achieve success, people step on other people’s toes. They stab each other in the back, take credit for other peoples’ ideas and work, break promises and abuse people below them and claim no responsibility for it.

    And that is the real tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. lala ⋅

    I like this film especially the story plot. I thought the story plot is similar to Sunrise, the film which we saw first. George, the main character in A Place In The Sun, has a girlfriend; however, he falls in love with another woman. This relationship between these three characters is like a man, city girl, and a country girl. In addition, George tries to fall his girlfriend into the lake in order to kill her. However, he changed his mind, but she fell into the water and died accidentally. In Sunrise, a country girl does not die, but the situation between these two films are very similar. The Sunrise is very simple film because it does not have any voice except for the written narration. However, A Place in The Sun is much more complicated because the conversation between characters and the technique of the film are more sophisticated. Also, the last scene was memorable. It let the audience imagine what happened to George.

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  18. Rara ⋅

    Before watching this film, I thought this whole movie was going to be about a love story, but it was actually not just a love story but has some suspense and more contents in it. Even thought it was enjoyable and also kept my attention to watch it till the end, honestly, I personally did not like it so much. Maybe because the plot was predictable and very similar to the “Sunrise.” Also, I did not like George, especially how he behave in front of two women (Alice and Angela). When he was becoming close to Angela, he did not even try avoiding to be in trouble. So, for me he was just a stupid and do not have wise thought.
    In addition, I was even not sure if he really liked Angela or he wanted to get married with her just because Angela is a rich girl. As we discussed in class, George did not really adjust in the rich society and people always look down on him. So he really wished to be a part of the rich society by becoming an Angela’s husband. But it is usually very difficult to change the social class.
    Also, the film did not clearly show us how Alice died. He was saying that Alice fall down accidentally, but he also admits that he planed to kill her at the lake. He might be able to find a way to help he or as police was saying that they was a mark on her head so he did something to make her die after he fall down to the lake.
    As I mentioned above, this movie followed very similar plot than sunrise. The contrast between two girls who have opposite characteristics, and also the social statues are drowning in both films. I liked sunrise more because I could see the emotion of the character more in sunrise. A place in the sun left George’s emotion and some scenes unclear. Maybe it let audience to think and feel it because it could be said that this film tells more than it actually showed. For example, we did not really see the couples are dating or staying together closely, but we can know how their relationships are.
    Also, I thought this film is very “American” movie. The man was first very poor but later he got a chance to be a successful man, and started to attempt to be more successful and try to stay in the higher social class.

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  19. Miraijinnohara ⋅

    A Place in The Sun is a film about American tragedy made by American society. The class system created a huge gap between rich and poor that people can never fill up at this time. George is victimized by the society. He is born in poor family without a father. He is not educated well. There is no way that he can become successful till he goes to the factory that his relative owns.
    I though first that this movie will be about a success story of a man who was poor. But the film ended up a tragedy which has a lack of empathy.
    The film does not mention about each character’s personality so well. I feel like George just wanted someone else can replace Angela with Alice. He saw Angela at first and he was obvious that he fall in live with her, but he did not do anything to her because of the difference in a social class. In spite of that, he tried to get along with Alice because she has a similar background that he has. I thought ahh he just wants sexual relationship with somebody else and he thinks Alice is an easy girl to have it because she is in a same social class. He seems to look down on people, specifically poor people who are poor, in the same situation with him maybe because he is looked down by rich people…?
    However, as soon as he met Angela and knew she also fall love with him, he tried to get out of his poor, “miserable” life. Angela is a symbolic of his “American dream” that he really wants, and Alice is a symbolic of his past that he was raised in a poor family.
    Money society easily change him to be so much obsessed with living rich people. He became less care about the relationship between Alice and him.
    I was so surprised that even though he had an intention to kill, Alice he did not feel guilty that he did not save her. Until the end, he is thinking of Angela, not Alice.

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  20. Momokohashimoto ⋅

    This movie reminds me of the film Sunrise, and also makes me think that this kind of movie was popular at that time. In this film, A Place in the Sun contrasts city girl and farm girl, and rich and poor as well as Sunrise. George first fell in love with Alice, but his emotion changes after he gets along with Angole. This plot is totally similar to the film, Sunrise. Moreover, this film clearly shows the disparity in wealth. the scenes of factory and cottage house has a huge gap between poor and rich. What i realized was that this film displays the different characteristics of people in poor and rich. The people in factory includes Alice is passive and untalkative. However, people in cottage is active and confident in themselves, and this film shows the collapse of George’s life because of his decision to precede money. i think that because of this ending, this film is accepter by many people.

    in the story, The use of radio was interesting. George listens the radio which says that sea water would get rough, and he turns to a bad face. i really like this because i was like, “Oh, he’s gonna kill her.” At this time, viewers think that he is a really bad guy in the story. However, despite the fact that he planed to kill Alice, he actually did not kill Alice. Again this scene is really similar to Sunrise. Compared to the modern movies which display same theme, i think that old movies does not try to create a really bad person. Even though George was about to kill Alice and run away from the police, the film includes the punishment of him. it is really interesting to me and also made me think that today’s movies way more includes the bad reality such as a bad side of a person and might focus on only till the guy get arrested. So i realized that the old movies tend to describe the whole story of the protagonist. Overall, i liked this movie, but not become my favorite as i could guess the plot in the middle of the story.

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  21. abc ⋅

    Okay, there’s such a weird thing about this movie: i didn’t identify with any of the characters at all. I find the main guy extremely annoying since he is selfish to the point of “killing” (or at least planning the murder of) his girlfriend just because he did not want to stick with her and their baby. Like… What? What kind of a person is that? How can someone be so cruel? His will to be rich and fit in to the high society was so strong that he forgot everything about moral values. How come he didn’t even try to save Alice from drowning?

    Although the movie has a fun plot, nice camera work and good cast, it didn’t surprise me at all. It is just one more of those stories where the rich and pretty girl gets the good boy. However, different from “Sunrise”, the city girl wasn’t portrayed as bad, nasty or dirty… And that was one of the things i liked about that movie. Finally, the city girl is no longer associated with something bad while the country girl is viewed as pure and good!

    Also, why do movies always show women as extremely forgiving? Why do women always accept their husbands’ flaws and mistakes as they have never happened? Especially when it comes to the husband’s unfaithfulness, women always seem to be okay with that. It is funny, or at least interesting, how movies used to portray women as weak and forgiving… always so submissive to their mates.

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  22. cool cool cool ⋅

    This is probably my least favorite movie so far. Generally I’m a fan of flawed and problematic protagonists but apparently I have found my line in the sand and the line’s name is George. I just had a lot of issues with his character. I didn’t hate him, but I also didn’t sympathize with him at all for the majority of the film. It looked promising in the very beginning (the scene where he stopped to look at a suit in a window and then spent what was probably most of his money on that awkwardly fitting suit so that he could try to look nice for his family he was meeting for the first time- that made me like him. Same with how earnestly he was willing to work doing the slightly degrading “I Love Lucy in a Chocolate Factory”esque job.), but it was all downhill from there.

    I rolled my eyes a bit at the INSTANT LOVE that was obvious on his face when he saw Elizabeth Taylor for the first time, but I also accepted it. Love at first site is kind of a ~thing~ in olden films, so sure. That’s fine. But then he started the flirtation with factory girl, Alice. Here’s where he loses me. I think the problem was that I ended up finding her more sympathetic than I did him. I think the film realizes that this might be a risk since they go out of the way to make her clingy and needy and unattractive in some scenes (particularly the boat scene, where they have her bluntly center screen and very dowdy and frowny and overwhelming with the way the camera zoomed on her so that she took up most of the shot. Even as a viewer I felt the urge to lean back and escape the presence, which is of course, exactly what George is feeling, as he battles his own indecision about what to do over her.) but despite these moments of kinda “ugh”ness, my memories of all the other moments they threw in where she was a pretty decent person overwhelmed these. Alice was insecure, yes, but obviously with good reason, since she saw how much George was being swayed by the rich side. Yet even with these insecurities, when George would come to her with excuse after excuse about why he had to stay late at this party or why he had to push off marrying her to go rub elbows with his family, she pretty much supported him. It was only when she found out that he was blatantly lying to her, her who was pregnant with his baby, his baby that she was not allowed to abort despite attempts to, that she cranked up the “nag” levels and pursued him to his vacation spot. (Of course this ended up resulting in her own death.)

    But Alice was not the one who started this relationship with George. From the beginning, despite the fact that he had been specifically warned not to pick up with any of the girls he worked with, he was the one who pursued her, and rather aggressively at that. It was a lot of fast kissing and nudging to be invited inside, and when they eventually had sex it was for the most part due to his own pressuring. I’m not saying that she was taken advantage of, but only that it wasn’t ~her~ who had been the one pressuring him into bed. So in the end, when she winds up pregnant with the baby of a guy who is cheating on her, who never really loved her to begin with, and in a situation where she has to marry him or be ruined, I one hundred percent feel for her. Even in the boat, on that little trip that she was so happy to make with him (flashback to Sunrise and how the wife was so happy to be receiving any attention from her wandering husband, who in reality was actually plotting to drown her. Talk about a mirrored plotline.), she was really just trying to make the best of things. She even said that she knew that he didn’t love her but that maybe they could be happy together and maybe he’d love her someday, the three of them a little family just trying to make it work. This all the while with George just wanting to be rid of her, his heart too tied up in Angela.

    I actually had no problems with Angela’s character, even if her sudden overwhelming love for George did seem a bit out of nowhere. But she was a strong character and sharp and witty and I could see why anyone would have an infatuation with her. And I liked how she loved George for who he was, even when he wasn’t on par with her in terms of social standing; even when her family thought a short vacation where he had to rub elbows with her friends would open her eyes. She loved him til the end and I respected that. It’s not like she knew about Alice.

    In terms of discussing the visuals of the film, I liked how it had a very specific look with its extreme use of light in scenes. There were many scenes where some of the shot was almost completely in the dark, with a highlight cast on something else, like Alice’s eyes in the car or when the two of them were romancing on the front steps and the shot was framed through the dark silhouettes of trees in the backyard. The sex scene too warrants a mention, with Alice and George obviously coupling in the darkness off to the side, though all the audience can see is the rain on the window frame and a ticking clock.

    The film was also rather dramatic with its extreme closeups of dewey eyed Elziabeth Taylor’s face or constipated looking George, combed with its soap opera-esque music cues of SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT IS HAPPENING. They were almost comical at parts, like when the strings blared at a sudden close up of the sign “closed for labor day” at the wedding registry, or the way the radio voiceover read out the weather forecast and basically ~pounded~ in the fact that now would be the perfect weekend for someone to oh, say, drown their wife?

    All in all, I wouldn’t rush to watch this film again, but I also didn’t hate it. I understand why it’s one that’s still discussed to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. mewpudding101 ⋅

    “A Place in the Sun” revolves around George, a country boy who moves to the city in order to get a job based on his family name, Eastman. Although he is given a job, he is told never to have romantic relationships with any of the workers. Although George finds himself enamored with the high-class girl Angela, he begins dating Alice, a low-class girl. Through his romantic fling with her, Alice becomes pregnant. This becomes a problem, not only because George will lose his position at the company, but because he has also started a romantic relationship with Angela. Finding himself blackmailed by Alice, he tries to a find a way out, but this story does not end with good results.
    I heard during class some people praise the background music. However, I would have to disagree. I believe that the music at times was over-used, even to a humorous amount at times. There was no room given to the audience to come to their own conclusions, as the music pushed them to believe what the director wanted them. This goes very against the ending of the film, which is left ambiguous. Another comment about the sound, but at one point, the dubbing of the voices was so out of timing that it was blatantly obvious. This brought me personally out of the world that the story was trying to weave.
    Although I believe that George is scum by the end of the film, I was truly touched that Angela still loved him even before his execution. I honestly thought that she would be written out of the film after her family asked her not to be part of the trial. I think it was George’s one redeeming moment in the film when there was someone who still loved him.
    Honestly, this film was hard to watch, as everything bad in the world began to happen in the story. However, I can understand why it is important in film history.

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  24. emiferrie ⋅

    I got distracted from being able to watch this movie objectively since it was so similar to Sunrise. I could think of little else, and it really damaged my opinion of this movie. I guess if you haven’t seen Sunrise before, it would have been exciting, but still, I don’t understand how it was accepted so well and became a huge hit. Was cheating on and drowning wives a big thing in the 20th century? Jesus! Not only was the storyline questionably similar, but both directors used a ‘warning sign’ sound – in Sunrise, church bells rang when terrible things were about to happen, and in A Place in the Sun, it was the crying of the loon and barking of dogs. It makes one suspicious that such similar techniques are used.

    One thing I thought was interesting was how annoying Alice seemed, and how I felt a sense of relief when she was drowned. As fucked up as that sentence sounds, especially from a female who should probably feel more empathy and sympathy for a fellow female, Alice’s nagging was really putting me to the edge, and at one point I totally understood how insane she drove George. It’s true that George is a total man whore scum who led on the innocent Alice, pretty much raped her in her own home, got her pregnant, lied to her about his feelings and led her on while spending time with Angela, pushed for abortion (when it was highly illegal for an unmarried woman to get an abortion), and the list goes on and on, but anyway, all that strangely seemed not to matter because Alice was so desperately needy and naggy near the end of her life. I’m thinking that perhaps the actress who played Alice was talented and convinced me to feel that way. I wonder if the same feeling would have occurred if a different actress played her part.

    I’m trying to think of whether there was ever a more despicable main character. There’s nothing good about this actor except for his looks, really (although he has terrible posture, which is a deal breaker for me). As I ranted on above, he treats Alice terribly, and he sounds like a total idiot in court – kudos for being honest about murdering his wife, but he shows no visible sign of remorse or guilt. Still, he gets visits from his mother and Angela right before his execution. It just left me thinking ‘Why is everyone so accepting and forgiving to this total douchebag?’ It took away from the sense of reality, in my opinion.

    Although I do not particularly praise this film, I must admit there is strong star value, as there is so much eye candy. I could stare at Elizabeth Taylor all day, she is sooooo gorgeous!!

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