The Heiress

The Heiress (1949)
Olivia de Havilland, ever luminous even in this role as a plain, shy, and somewhat socially inept heiress in mid-1800s New York, experiences romance with handsome and cultured Montgomery Clift. This wonderful actress shows us a personality shift–most noticeable to me in her voice–as she grows in realization of the painful forces at work in her relationships. The emotional punch of this 1949 film becomes most fully realized in the unforgettable final scene. The top notch cast also includes Ralph Richardson and Miriam Hopkins. Read the 1881 book by Henry James, Washington Square.

For more on the film, check out the 1949 review from The New York Times and a film article on the Turner Classic Movie website.

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