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Time Out says
So much has been made of the fact that this was the first feature to be shot in three-strip Technicolor that it's often forgotten just how marvellous a film it actually is. A sophisticated, witty, and beautifully economical adaptation of Thackeray's Vanity Fair as it charts its cunning heroine's meteoric rise in society, it rightly and explicitly treats her entirely amoral manipulation of sympathetic women and besotted men as an on-going performance of immense versatility. But the colour is supremely important, in that Mamoulian uses costume, decor and lighting to precise symbolic effect, most memorably, perhaps, in the famous ballroom sequence on the eve of Waterloo when, as battle is announced, the pastel gowns are suddenly replaced by the crimson cloaks of soldiers rushing to war. Its enormously funny script might nevertheless seem precious, even stilted, were it not for the excellence of the performances, of which Miriam Hopkins' Becky is merely the most dazzling.