Blind Spot 01: A Place in The Sun (1951)

A Place in the Sun 1951 Blind Spot 2018

A Place in The Sun, 1951

Directed by George Stevens
Starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor and Shelley Winters

Montgomery Clift (playing George Eastman) stars in this 50s love triangle with Elizabeth Taylor (playing Angela Vickers) and Shelley Winters (playing Alice Tripp). George gets a job at his wealthy uncle’s swimsuit factory, but nepotism is only for Eastmans of a higher calibre: he starts working with the girls in the assembly line, and falls with love with a nice one, named Alice. Still, his name allows for some socialising, and so George meets Angela, a high society girl, at a party. And yes, he falls in love with her, too. Most shockingly, he carries on with both affairs.

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.

A Place in the Sun 1951 Elizabeth Taylor GIF

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.

Are you participating in this year’s Blind Spot Series? Then leave your post linked bellow! Visit the event’s page for all the info.

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10 Comments

  1. January 30, 2018 / 1:25 PM

    I’M SO GLAD YOU DECIDED TO WATCH THIS ONE FIRST!! So, how’d you like it?!

    • January 30, 2018 / 2:53 PM

      I’m so glad you recommended I did, because really can’t you tell I LOVED IT. I could stare at Clift and Taylor for days, but the movie actually surprised me in how it turned up the suspense! So good!

  2. January 30, 2018 / 1:40 PM

    Eilzabeth Taylor is so beautiful. I haven’t seen this, but that gif alone makes me want to.

    • January 30, 2018 / 2:54 PM

      She is! Taylor and Clift made a ridiculously attractive couple in this one ?

  3. January 31, 2018 / 1:01 PM

    The film looks – and sounds – gorgeous!

    • February 1, 2018 / 5:59 PM

      And it is!! Hope you get to see it someday, it’s worth it.

    • February 14, 2018 / 5:01 PM

      Thanks, Mette! I’ll add your Letterboxd account to the list of participants in the meantime.

  4. joel
    February 9, 2018 / 2:15 AM

    This is a highly enjoyable film though there are some parts that are awfully florid (Raymond Burr’s district attorney for instance) with that beautiful black & white cinematography. Clift and Liz are almost painfully gorgeous and Shelley Winters movingly pathetic as Alice.

    You should try out the original adaptation of the novel this was based on which retained the title of the book “An American Tragedy”. It’s a pre-code so its more explicit than this version but also a half hour shorter so it doesn’t go into the detail this does. What it’s missing is the massively charismatic pair of Montgomery Clift & Elizabeth Taylor in the leads though Sylvia Sidney is very good as the Alice character named Roberta in the earlier film.

    • February 10, 2018 / 7:54 PM

      I agree. I think the trial was such a drastic change of pace and style, the scenes hardly seemed like they belonged in the film. But everything else was pretty much perfect.

      I’ll certainly have a look at that pre-code, I didn’t know there was a previous adaptation. I can imagine it being hard to compete with a duo like Clift and Taylor!

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