Stage to Screen Blogathon: The Heiress () – MOON IN GEMINI
Thread: "The Heiress", The ending of the film, with the desperate knocking on the door of Catherine Sloper's house by her. The Heiress was Montgomery Clift's 3rd film, and his co-star was three years older .. that clarifies the relationship of the entire family and his inability to Having seen the film first and finding that ending so powerful. In the case of The Heiress, the film version of Henry James's Although, Catherine's ending persona is quite different the in movie, both are likeable. him and has no interest in forming any type of relationship with him ever again.
Bitterly disappointed in the loss of his wife, he is also dissatisfied with his daughter, who he sees as dull-witted in comparison to his idealized memory of his wife. He finds it impossible to love her. One day Catherine is introduced to Morris Townsend, a poor but charming and attractive young man, who sweeps her off her feet. They decide to marry.
Convinced Townsend is a fortune hunter, Sloper does everything he can to dissolve the engagement, including taking his daughter away for a European tour.
She still proceeds with marriage plans. Townsend jilts her and disappears for several years. Townsend returns after Sloper has died and once again tries to woo Catherine. This time it is she who refuses him.
- The Heiress (1949)
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- Stage to Screen Blogathon: The Heiress (1949)
Even though the novella and play and film follow most of these plot points, they diverge in some subtle and key ways.
The characterization of Catherine is changed quite a bit in the play and film. The ending is also significantly different. The play was a success ironic, as James tried and utterly failed to make a success as a playwright.
Actress Olivia de Havilland approached director William Wyler about making a film adaptation. Wyler convinced Paramount Studios to purchase the rights to the play. The Goetzes were hired to write the screenplay. Ralph Richardson was cast as Dr. Sloper reprising his role from the London production of the play and rising star Montgomery Clift was hired to play Morris.
The true primary relationship in the story is the one between Catherine and her father. He is initially presented as a somewhat distant yet superficially courteous father Richardson is sublime in the role who cuts his daughter down in the same breath that he praises her.
His high expectations and constant digs have turned Catherine into a shy, socially inept woman. But only in front of her father and strangers. This is one way the play and film differ from the novella. Montgomery Clift was famously unhappy with his performance in the movie, feeling an outsider next to actors such as de Havilland, Richardson and Hopkins.
The Final Scene of “The Heiress” (1949)
He even criticized de Havilland for letting Wyler influence her performance. He also believed he was better suited to playing modern characters.The Heiress ... Color Version
Even so, I find it difficult to imagine a better actor to play Morris. Perhaps the conflict between Clift and de Havilland helped enhance their onscreen chemistry. Which is what seems to enrage Sloper the most about their relationship. Addie August 22, at 2: She said she ended up not liking the movie because, after being so sweet and caring in the beginning, Catherine ended up just as cold and manipulative as those around her her father, Morris, Aunt Lavinia in the end.
I agree with the perspective that Catherine forgave Morris, but she would never forget how she was treated and ultimately she would not allow those people to affect her in such a way any longer. Rita August 23, at 2: She is a wiser woman, of course, woman who is aware of her strenght, of her value and well aware of the ways of the world but in the process she has begun to resemble her father.
She already has a satisfied look on her face as she turns out the lamp in the living room. I see it as a moment of revenge but also a turning point in her life where the old Catherine has been discarded for a wiser and more sensible one who will no longer be content to sit in the parlor doing her embroidery but is ready to go on to other things as a woman who has regained her self-worth.
The Final Scene of “The Heiress” () | Backlots
October 4, at 4: She is an embittered woman who has freed herself of a terrible detriment to her life — namely that charleton Morris. Even before Morris shows up a 2nd time, we see how she now lives her life, and it does not seem all that healthy.
I keep seeing Miss Haversham from Great Expectations — the old lady who was jilted in her youth and now wears a wedding gown yellowed with age and keeps rat-infested wedding cake on the table. However, when Catherine deliberately cuts the yarn from her embroidery the one thing she does well and for which her father had great contempt at the same time Mariah bolts the door against Morris, you get a sense that perhaps she will now lay aside anything including bitterness that has kept her from exploring the world and being open to friendships.
This may be wishful thinking. Argentina November 27, at 6: That last scene is Catherine, both, pleasing her father and basically giving Morris what she thought he wanted monetary desires; the buttons. Yet she allows herself the freedom to choose.
She chose to accept who she is to keep from being hurt or proven wrong, so to speak. Catherine basically saw the buttons more valuable than she.
Maybe in retrospect, her father was right in her head. Catherine wanted to prove to Townsend and her father that she was no longer naive.