Wednesday, November 16, 2016


(Post 6 of 10) 

One of the most famous dramas from the fifties, A Place in the Sun is based on Theodore Dreiser's early twentieth century novel, An American Tragedy. The plot involves poor, but ambitious George Eastman (Montgomery Clift), who works his way up the corporate ladder of his rich relatives business and gets involved with the loving, but simple Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters). He later meets the beautiful Anglea Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor) who he falls for right away. This creates a problem with the lingering presence of Alice, whose relationship with George is further complicated by the fact that she is in a family way...

It sounds like a bit of a soap opera when you try to recount the plot, but it really is a strong drama, with well-cast leads, a tragic story (as the original title indicates) and very solid directorial touches from George Stevens (who won the Academy Award for A Place in the Sun). In fact, the film won the most Academy Awards of any film released in 1951 (6), but lost out to An American in Paris for Best Picture.

And the Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award goes to...Shelley Winters

Poor, poor Shelley Winters in A Place in the Sun
You have to give Shelley Winters some credit. She came up as a sexy leading lady in the late 40's, but her movie star looks seemed to fade awfully fast and she fell into obscurity and was never cast after that...Only that wasn't what happened at all! Shelly transitioned into one of the most prolific character actresses in movies for the the next thirty or so years, winning supporting actress Academy Awards for The Diary of Anne Frank in 1959 and A Patch of Blue in 1965. She was also nominated as Best Actress for A Place in the Sun, but I think her part would have been more appropriate in the supporting category.

Some of her subsequent supporting roles include: Lolita's ill-fated mother in Lolita, another mother role in the 60's cult film, Wild in the Streets, another ill-fated romantic lead in Night of the Hunter, the lead gangster in Bloody Mama and of course, her turn in the 70's disaster film The Poseidon Adventure. She also was the a frequent talk show guest over the years, where her persona as a rather abrasive, middle-aged, heavy-set woman was instilled in many of us.

"Wow! That's Shelley Winters?"Still from the late 40's


  1. It is somehow difficult to imagine Shelley Winters as a young hottie. She got almost typecast as this dowdy country bumpkin, a role she totally ruled.

  2. Yep, brings back memories of multiple viewings of Pete's Dragon as a child.

    On another note, I'm wondering if this is the proper venue to mention that Woody Allen's Match Point is an excellent pastiche of A Place in the Sun and Fatal Attraction, but it's different enough to be entertaining in its own way. It's nice to know after all his hard work, Woody finally managed to make one good film. *ducks for cover from flying tomatoes*

    1. We (the royal we) appreciate differences of opinion-especially from such a renowned scholar as yourself. You also want to make me watch Match Point, which I've never seen.