A Place in The Sun, 1951
Directed by George Stevens
Starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters
Under George Stevens’ (Giant) direction, and William C. Mellor’s cinematography, A Place in The Sun is a stunning film. If there’s one thing black and white calls for is stark plays of dark and light, and in some key moments this movie nails it. Particularly in nightime scenes we get a clever play of shadows, one of my favourites being the hidden kisses. What you can’t see and your mind imagines, is ten times better than anything they could ever show you – one of the most notable examples being the perfect kiss between Dietrich and Cooper the world has never seen, in 1930s Morocco.
In this triangle of concealed affection, the young are ardent and foolish. One of them has to loose, and sweet, quiet Alice looks like the sucker from the start. So much so that when the marriage registry is closed for labor day, you could swear it’s all part of an elaborate scheme against poor Alice. And in fact, from this point on, the movie takes a dark turn with ominous music and classic danger scenarios (the boat scene!), keeping us on the edge thinking, would he really?
Wether he would or did and what follows is up to you to find out, but the shift in tone was welcomed and elevated what could’ve been another melodrama (which Stevens has done and I personally don’t fancy) to a thrilling romance.