Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Place in the Sun (1951)

A Place in the Sun won six well-deserved Academy Awards for direction, cinematography, editing, writing, music, and costume. The plot was captivating and well written, with every scene moving the story forward. There are several brilliant lines throughout the film, and I deeply empathized with every character. 

The scenes between George (Montgomery Clift) and Angela (Elizabeth Taylor) are sensational, enhanced by Franz Waxman’s poignant soundtrack. Just listening to the theme song brings tears to my eyes. Without a doubt, one of the most passionate love songs that evokes a plethora of emotions as I'm entirely spellbound by the beauty of the film.

George Stevens’ direction was excellent due to his subtle touch such as the Vickers sign flashing outside George’s window, the sound of birds chirping whenever he’s with Angela, the distant shot of Alice’s claustrophobic bedroom, and the superimposition of George’s mother reminiscing by the phone. The fabulous close up shots draw the audience’s attention to every minute detail on screen and word uttered by the characters. The way he built up the suspense at the lake through the shot composition and music was magnificent. The tension was palpable in every scene as George is faced with a dilemma of love, morality, and ambition.

The acting was superb by the entire cast ensemble. Montgomery Clift was one of the first method actors, an inspiration to Marlon Brando, James Dean, and numerous others. They not only gave outstanding performances, they lived the moment, experienced the characters’ every emotion, and instilled a sense of realism in their subtle expressions and gestures. It’s amazing the amount of emotion they could convey just with their eyes.

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