A Place in the Sun

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A manipulative psychodrama seething with sex and class jealousy, ‘A Place in the Sun’ was the second and best known adaptation of Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 novel ‘An American Tragedy’. It’s ludicrously overblown and at times dubious in its attempts at social satire, but that didn’t stop Hollywood journeyman George Stevens’s 1951 film hauling in a total of six Oscars – though not the big prize. Montgomery Clift is at his most charismatic (and, let’s face it, absurdly good looking) as George Eastman, the hardworking social climber torn between devoted but drab Alice (Shelley Winters, looking severely trampled) and glamorous good-time girl Angela (Elizabeth Taylor). The dividing lines between these women – poor and wealthy, slovenly and smart, desperate and self-confident – are rather too broadly drawn: Winters’s character verges on the grotesque. But the chemistry between Clift and Taylor is unmistakeable – this is one of the great cinematic portraits of untamed desire – and there’s a compelling sense of unavoidable destiny, of a societal trap slowly, inexorably snapping shut.

By: Tom Huddleston

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Release details

Rated: U
Release date: Friday February 1 2013
Duration: 133 mins

Cast and crew

Director: George Stevens
Screenwriter: Michael Wilson, Harry Brown
Cast: Montgomery Clift
Elizabeth Taylor
Shelley Winters
Anne Revere
Keefe Brasselle
Raymond Burr
Fred Clark

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