A Place in the Sun (Stevens, 1951): BFI Southbank, NFT3 6.20pm
This film, part of the Montgomery Clift season, is on an extended run at the BFI Southbank. Details here. I went to see this at a press screening and though overly schematic the film has, at its heart, two luminous performances from Clift and Elizabeth Taylor that hold the attention and linger long after the final shot.
'The winner of six Oscars (for direction, screenplay, cinematography,
score, costumes and editing), it centres on George Eastman (Clift), a
shy, slightly awkward Midwesterner who arrives in California hoping for a
job in his uncle’s factory. He’s in luck, and though he secretly starts
dating assembly-line worker Alice (Shelley Winters) against company
rules, he’s soon promoted. That wins him a tentative foothold in the
world of his wealthy relatives – where he meets and immediately falls
for beautiful socialite Angela (Taylor)... Stevens’ eye for detail is
evident in the deft delineation of social divisions and the meticulous
characterisation, but what distinguishes the film is the way he homes in
– with ravishing close-ups and lingering dissolves suggestive of
inexorable destiny – on the rapt, languid, irresistible desire that
drives the story. While all the performances are excellent, Taylor and
Clift were never better – or lovelier – and their scenes together are
memorable for their wounded beauty.'
Andrew has written a more detailed feature, highlighting Hollywood's beautiful couples, here.
Here is the trailer.