A Place in the Sun based on the masterpiece American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
The film is based on a classic – American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser.
The chef d’oeuvre has been included on the list of best novels of the twentieth century, compiled by The Modern Library:
Clyde Griffiths becomes George Eastman in the film and he is played exceptionally by Montgomery Clift.
This was one of the best actors and we can see that in this and other films and we have testimony from other involved in the movies.
Burt Lancaster has said that he was afraid of Montgomery Clift, since the actor had such a power and such magnetism.
William Goldman writes in the fantastic Adventures in the Screen Trade that the fact that Montgomery Clift did not take the parts in Somebody Up There Likes Me, East of Eden and On The Waterfront lead to the stardom of:
- Paul Newman, James Dean and Marlon Brando respectively…
George Eastman wants a…Place In The Sun.
Only he comes from a very poor family, he has very little education and not much to recommend him for a better position.
Except for his relation to his very rich uncle.
George visits his wealthy family and he is offered a job, although it is an entry level, that could open the way for later opportunities.
He meets his destiny, if we choose to see it that way or believe in fate, in the person of a coworker named Alice Tripp.
They engage in a relationship that becomes not just intimate, but I venture to say a foolishly inconsiderate sexual affair.
George wants to climb up the ladder and he may be so scared, maybe even stigmatized by his destitution as a child.
It is wrong to put emphasis on money, fame, status and extrinsic goals, as positive psychology research has demonstrated.
Notwithstanding this research, people still tend to engage on the hedonic treadmill and expect wealth to bring happiness.
It doesn’t, even if extreme poverty, homelessness are not exactly the happiness formula and a comfortable financial situation is optimal.
George meets Angela Vickers, portrayed by the gorgeous, young Elizabeth Taylor in her good period, acting with charm and grace.
The young man is now trapped in an impossible love triangle, even if I think that he was only infatuated, very likely sexually attracted to Alice, and while in the case of Angela, her charm might be well increased by her position, in the eyes of the “hungry” George.
Things Fall Apart- when Angela learns she is pregnant and is reluctant to take up the solution of an abortion.
She then starts to pressure her lover.
George is now torn between Angela and her increasingly annoying requests and the glamorous, sparkling medium of Angela.
The haunted Montgomery Clift is exceptional in this situation, where the hero does not know what to do.
Or perhaps he does, but it is so difficult to get away from Alice and her possessiveness and run to and with Angela.
There is also the issue of Angela’s family, who is not thrilled at the prospect t of the daughter making such a poor choice.
The book is excellent, but this is an adaptation that, although it is not able to render all that we find in the novel, it is a marvelous work of art.
The actors, screenplay, director all contribute and their work has been recognized and awarded six Academy Awards and other prizes
“George Eastman: I love you. I've loved you since the first moment I saw you. I guess maybe I've even loved you before I saw you.”
This quote may reveal a lot about the main character and his Quest for A Place in the Sun that did not end as he wanted.