The Heiress [VHS]
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Product Description

In this 1949 dramatization of Henry James's Washington Square, Olivia de Havilland is the plain but presentable spinster who lives with her domineering father (Ralph Richardson). What she lacks in looks she makes up for in wealth, and soon finds herself the object of much attention by Montgomery Clift. At the heart of this drama is the question of his possibly mercenary agenda. De Havilland does not seem to care one way or the other, but her father cannot believe any man would love her for any reason but her wealth.

This version does not stray too far from the novel. It is a masterpiece that reveals both suppressed anger within a family and the suppression of women in the 19th century. De Havilland, all simmering desire and controlled rage, won an Oscar for best actress, and Aaron Copland copped one for best score. It is no surprise that this handsome picture was also awarded Oscars for costume design and art direction. It was remade and updated with an oddly feminist twist in 1997under the novel's original title. --Rochelle O'Gorman

Customer Reviews:

  • An Heiress of Her Own
    If there was ever a film dealing with cruelty in its most subtle form, then you have The Heiress. Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift give some of the best performances as a couple who meet and decide to marry; Ok. but here's the hitch; de Havilland is the daughter of a doctor who is well off, Clift is a penniless man; Her father, played to crisp perfection by Ralph Richardson. When he proposes, the father smelled a rat, and tried to stop the show by talking to his sister and going to Europe for some months. When that didn't stop them, he threatens to take the fortune he plans to give her, De Havilland tells him and he doesn't show up at the appointed time for their elopement. Now on first thought, one may feel that Clift's character is mercenery, heartless and cruel; On second thought, Richardson's assessment of the situation could be an extention of his further cruelty to his docile daughter.That is the question that isn't fully explored; By the end though, the daughter gets back on her own. Great character study.
    ...more info

    The dvd arrived within a few days and was of good quality. Will order again....more info
  • Perfect in every way
    This is a wonderful film. It has romance, action, dialogue, direction, but most of all it is psychologically satisfying. And horrifying too. The numerous ways each character is flawed, the deceits, the verbal damages inflicted, all will keep you awed as you find yourself totally immersed. A solid 5 stars! ...more info
  • An "unmarriageble" girl
    The Heiress (1949) is an outstanding movie - adaptation of the play by Augustus and Ruth Goetz, based on the novel "Washington Square" by great writer, Henry James, The drama of a young, shy, sweet, open to love, rather plain in her appearance but very rich girl takes place in New York City in the mid-1880s. Olivia de Havilland is excellent as Catherine, the heiress of the title, who fells in love with a very good looking young man Morris Townsend(Montgomery Clift in the role that had propelled him to the stardom), who may or may not be after her extraordinary wealth. Catherine's Father, Dr. Austin Sloper (Ralf Richardson) is protective of his daughter and does not trust Moris sincerely felling in love with awkward Catherine. Dr. Sloper constantly compares his daughter to her late mother. Catherine is nothing like her mother whom the girl never knew but who was everything she was not. De Haviland's Catherine is so sweet and nice, she makes a viewer hope that she had found a true love and would be happy with the man of her dreams even if she is not the prettiest or wittiest girl in the world. Will it really happen?

    The film was directed by one of the Hollywood's greats, William Wyler and was nominated for eight Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Black-and-White Cinematography, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White, Best Costume Design, and Best Music Score. Surprisingly, an excellent script which is one of the main reasons of the movie's success was not nominated. The film received four Oscars and deserves them all, especially Ms. de Havilland in one of her very best performances....more info
  • An Additional Wrinkle
    I've enjoyed reading the many insightful reviews offered here about The Heiress.

    However, one aspect that I have not seen explored here, and one that has occurred to me after more than one viewing of the film is the prospect that Catherine's father's rejection of her is fueled by his misdirected anger at her for the loss of her mother. Apparently, her mother died in childbirth. As Dr. Sloper points out to his sister at the party given to celebrate her daughter's engagement (referring to the dazzling creature represented by his deceased wife) "This is what I lost....and this....(pointing to Catherine) is what I got in return. It could be that no matter how Catherine evolved, it would never be good enough for her father because he harbors such animosity toward her for taking away his beloved wife. And since unresolved anger often begets more anger, he reaps his rewards, so to speak, in Catherine's final rejection of him.

    The Heiress is an extremely complex movie. I have heard the transition made by Catherine, played by Olivia DeHavilland, described in these reviews as (1) her turning into a bitter woman, (2) a wise woman, (3) a woman more in control of her life, (4) a suspicious woman, etc. Is she a tragic figure? Does she triumph? Has her experience made her wiser or has it hardened her heart forever, resulting in an inability to trust, even in everyday situations (recall the scene near the end when Maria compliments Catherine on her dress and is rebuffed for her "false compliments").

    Catherine's father, played by Sir Ralph Richardson has similarly been described as (1) a scoundrel, (2) an unloving father who robbed Catherine of any self-esteem she might have had (3) hateful and (4) a victim.

    Catherine's dad reminds me a great deal of my own father - wounded early in his life by a tragedy, and forever unable to demonstrate love toward another person - including his wife or children. It took many years for me to see him as anything but a scoundrel, but now I understand that he was also a victim. I see Catherine's father in the same way. Unable to cope, emotionally with this child who, as a result of being born, took the life of his wife. To him, his demonstration of any affection toward his daughter would be a betrayal of his wife. This perverted viewpoint robbed both Catherine and her father of a relationship that could have been loving and supportive.

    Then, there is Morris - seemingly a mercenary opportunist, described aptly by Catherine's father as a fortune hunter...would he have abandoned Catherine once he had accesss to her money, thus breaking her heart? Or, as Catherine argues to her father, "Since you didn't love me, at least you could have allowed someone else to try." Of course, given her father's jaundiced viewpoint of her, he could not imagine that anyone worthwhile would be interested in Catherine for any other reason than her money.

    Obviously, as in real life situations, there is a complexity that makes all of these assertions true to some extent. This movie is so great because besides the excellent acting on the part of the four major characters, it presents them without attempting to judge them or remove the ambiguity and depth that they present.

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  • DeHavilland's Best Performance
    Great film, they don't make them like this anymore. Great performances, great script, gorgeous sets and costumes, this film is timeless. What is taking so long getting this out on dvd?????...more info
    I have watched this movie so many times now that my VHS tape is running thin. I still cry everytime when scumbag Morris Townsend deserts Catherine. Morris is only after Catherine's money which is obvious from the start and her father is only trying to warn her of this but finally, in the end, she learns it for herself. She pretends to Morris that she will elope with him but when he returns to her house with his belongings, she bolts the door. The film ends with Morris banging on the door screaming out Catherine's name and you see the shadow of her lamp as she climbs the stairs leaving Morris behind forever.
    This film starred Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift. I fully recommend it....more info
    THE HEIRESS is one of the great works of the Hollywood studio system. Olivia deHavilland is especially riveting as Catherine Sloper, possibly the first anti-heroine in cinema, and Ralph Richardson, as Austin Sloper, her cruel father, steals nearly every scene he's in, which is pretty astounding when he is confronted by deHavilland, a young and brilliant Montgomery Clift, and the charming Miriam Hopkins. Wyler's detached direction often is overlooked but his use of set pieces---particularly the house where the Slopers reside---is nothing short of genius. Timeless, and what is it NOT doing on DVD??...more info
  • They don't make movies like this anymore! (ie: BRILLIANT!)
    I have seen this movie many, many times and never tire of it. From the achingly painful story line to the amazing performances, this movie has you enthralled from beginning to end. Olivia de Havilland is at her all time best and Mongomery Clift is brilliant as always.
    A story of a cruel and distant father, an emotionally abused "hieress" and the consequences of brutal honesty. This movie asks us, "What are you willing to forgive, in order to have love?".
    The ending is so dramatic and painful. You will never forget this film!!! ...more info
  • Yet another cheap cheap DVD release of a classic film
    A bravura film, the winner of four Oscars, perfs that resonate over time. And a cheap DVD release!

    1. no inside booklet to list the scenes
    2. no commentary from Olivia de Havilland
    3. full screen instead of wide screen
    4. no other extras or comments except for a bland intro by Robert Osborne and the trailer.

    This is the sort of film where you wonder what happens after THE END. Some people feel the bolting of the door is the bolting onto Catherine's heart, who is perhaps only around 27 years old by the film's conclusion. I like the think it is the bolting of the past and that Catherine will start anew. Why else would she also give up her embroidery?

    Perhaps she sells the house and travels around the world as a rich woman. Who could blame her?

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  • Sublime Soap Opera with Top Notch Performances!
    (This is a review of the film, not the particular DVD or VHS product)

    Superior period soap opera elevated to especially grand heights by the magnificent performances of the leading and supporting players. DeHavilland does some of her richest, most complex work. Clift, as always, delivers rich realism in his role as the pernicious suitor. In large supporting roles, Ralph Richardson and Miriam Hopkins both do fantastic work.

    The direction, score and cinematography, with a clever script filled with superb dialogue, are all first rate and keep this from being like so many of the dated "women's" pictures of its time. Well worth seeing...again!...more info
  • "You embroider neatly"
    Have someone ever completely broken your heart? To the point where years later, the mere mention or thought of that person causes pain? "The Heiress," based on the Henry James novel "Washington Square," depicts the horrible effects of heartbreak unlike any other movie.
    Catherine Sloper (Olivia de Havilland) is a rich but shy spinster, who lives in a large lavish brownstone with her cruel, unloving father. Catherine's mother died giving birth, and her father, Dr. Sloper (an amazingly cold, brutal Ralph Richardson), has never forgiven Catherine for this. Catherine is not so much plain but insecure and unconfident. Her one friend is her aunt (Miriam Hopkins). de Havilland, naturally so pretty, manages to make Catherine look plain and unattractive simply through body language. Her voice is shy and unsure, like a little girl's. Her head is always lowered slightly, whenever she sees her tall and commanding father. It is clear that she's had to put up with years and years of cruel remarks and putdowns.
    One night at a party, she meets Morris Townsend (a young, handsome Montgomery Clift) and suddenly all the shyness and insecurity flies away as she falls in love. Dr. Sloper, however, is convinced that Morris is simply a fortune hunter, as Catherine is set to inherit $30,000 a year. But Dr. Sloper is not doing this out of affection for his daughter -- he simply has so much contempt for Catherine that he can't believe that any man would want her for anything but her money. In one of the most painful scenes ever filmed, Dr. Sloper rattles off all the reasons why men would *not* be attracted to her daughter, and then finally comes up with one positive attribute: "You embroider neatly."
    This devastates Catherine, who asks Morris to elope with her. She unwisely mentions the awful conversation with her father that ended with him threatening to disinherit her. She tells Morris to pick her up in a carriage in the middle of the night. Then she waits by the window for Morris's carriage. And waits. Finally her aunt says, "Oh, why couldn't you have been a little more clever?"
    Olivia de Havilland is masterful at portraying the overnight change this heartbreak has wraught onto Catherine. She seems almost like a zombie, with a flat and dull voice, and empty, hollow eyes. She can't forgive her father, and in one scene tortures him psychologically as he sits in a chair panting for his life. When a servant compliments her on her dress, she dismisses it as insincere flattery. She spends her days mindlessly embroidering. And finally we see how wrong her father was -- Morris might have been a fortune hunter, but there's enough ambiguity in the play (and in Clift's wonderfully nuanced performance) to suggest that he was mainly interested in Catherine's money, but he also could have provided Catherine with some desperately needed affection. Or, as Catherine says, "the illusion of love."
    The one area where the film (and play) differs slightly from the James novel is the ending. Catherine's "revenge" in "The Heiress" is much more melodramatic, and occurs within a smaller timespan. She says in a famous line, "Yes I can be very cruel. I've been taught by masters." Catherine becomes unkind to everyone -- her father, the maids, her aunt, herself most of all. When Morris inevitably returns, the movie of course goes for the big payoff. But ... if you've read the Henry James novel "Washington Square" you'll know that his ending is quite different. When Morris returns many years later, Catherine is not hell-bent on revenge, she has simply closed the book on that part of her life. I like both endings. The final scene of Olivia de Havilland's face in The Heiress -- lock-jawed, dead-eyed, steely -- is chilling. On the other hand, the James novel depicts the less dramatic effects of Catherine's heartbreak, that in the end are just as devastating.
    Either way, highly recommended....more info
  • Taught By Masters
    I'd certainly be curious to see WASHINGTON SQUARE, the more recent take on the Henry James tale on which this film is ultimately based. I find Jennifer Jason Leigh to be an intriguing (if avowedly maverick) screen presence and would be curious to see her take on the character of Catherine Sloper. But it's hard to imagine that it is any better than Olivia de Havilland's 1949 portrayal of the introverted, socially awkward heiress.

    (For that matter, I would have loved to have seen acclaimed stage actress Cherry Jones' performance in the revival of the Ruth and Augustus Goetz play which was the more direct source of the 1949 film.)

    De Havilland is a screen legend, of course, but contemporary viewers, who may not be that familiar with her work, may legitimately wonder if she was a great actress or more of a "luminous screen prescence" (not at all the same thing). Well, if she were all about glamour and charisma, she never could have pulled off this role. A striking woman in real life, she seems almost too physically attractive to effectively portray the initially mousey Catherine. But, in real life, the socially maladroit are often objectively attractive. What they lack are the social graces and poise necessary to function in society. Should they somehow master those skills, well, you have your classic "ugly duckling" transformation tale.

    That is not quite the case with THE HEIRESS, however. There is a striking transformation--what we might call in contemporary jargon, a kind of "empowerment"--but it does not result in the heroine's emergence as a "beautiful swan." More like a bird of prey.

    And it all makes perfect sense, emotionally and psychologically speaking. For a "pre-feminist" work, THE HEIRESS lends itself perfectly to a feminist reading. Caught between her demanding, emotionally unavailable father and a fortune-hunting suitor, Catherine seems initially to be almost helpless, a vulnerable wallflower who really does need her father's protection. (We know he's remote, but as played by the great Ralph Richardson, he does not seem any more so--or any less kindly disposed to his daughter--than many another Victorian father.)

    But by the film's end, we see that he is, in many ways, as cruel an exploiter of his daughter's affections as the caddish suitor (skillfully played by a young Montgomery Clift) and maybe more so. For as she reproaches her ailing father, quite literally before he takes to his death bed, the handsome young bounder at least offered her "the illusion" of love.

    But it's not that simple--or that melodramatic. As another reviewer has noted, the story is a pas de trois (or a folie a trois) between Clift's conniving (but not totally unsympathetic) suitor, Richardson's stern (but not really totally unloving) father and the apparently vulnerable (but not totally naive, as it turns out) young woman.

    In the last analysis, it is actually Catherine's steely resolve to break relations with her father that leads to the tale's denouement. Clift's ever-calculating Morris has always factored into the bargain an eventual reconciliation between father and daughter. It is her determination never to return home and to break off all ties to her father that precipitates his abandoning her--not, as many seem to believe, her father's threat to disinherit her.

    Catherine's attempted flight from Washington Square is, in many ways, as significant a cultural break as Nora's actual abandonment of her "doll's house." Fate decrees that she does not make that break: it is her good fortune, in a sense, that she does not have to. Whether she truly "wins" in any real sense remains something of an open question. (Just as Nora's actual fate in the wide world is never revealed.) But in Catherine's case, there is at least a sweet moment of revenge. You can hardly fault her for savoring it.

    ...more info
    Very good movie...they sure don't make them like this anymore!
    Cast was excellent.
    Oivia De Havilland was so good, that you go from feeling pity for her through most of the movie, to actually being scared of her by the end...she was that good.
    Thank goodness for these "oldies, but goodies."...more info
  • Bravo, bravo!
    Olivia DeHavilland plays Catherine Sloper, the painfully shy, and somewhat plain young woman somewhere in her early 20's. Her father, Doctor Sloper (Ralph Richardson) has a polite contempt for her. This feeds Catherine's insecurities and awkwardness, as well as an almost desperate desire to please.

    Then one night, at a party, she meets the handsome and dashing Morris. (Montgomery Clift) He quickly courts her, and not long after their first meeting, purposes. Catherine agrees at once, convinced of his love for her. Doctor Sloper, however, is not. He threatens to cut off his part of her inheritance if she marries Morris. (She already has a great deal of money from her mother, although only 1/3 of what she would have total if her dad disinherited her.) Upon learning this, Morris takes off, ditching poor Catherine. Between this, and a lifetime of mostly subtle verbal abuse, Catherine tells her father off, and denies him forgiveness on his deathbed.

    Morris comes rolling back into town some years later (we never really get a specific number on that) and tries to win Catherine back with claims of love. Unfortunately for him, Catherine is a changed woman. She's lost her shyness and clusmy ways, a poised, articulate woman now. However, she's also lost her sweetness and trust, and doesn't believe a word out of his mouth. In the end, she bolts Morris from her life, ready to move on with her life.

    This movie is excellent. Everyone gives a skillful performance. Oliva DeHavilland does her best work here, her transformation from a sweet, awkward girl to the hardened, self-controlled heiress was nothing sort of magnificant. Montgomery Clift cleverly keeps you guessing, and until he tips his hand, you're not quite sure if he truly loves Catherine, or if he's just thinking of his wallet. Ralph Richardson commands the screen as the cruelly witty father who by expecting too much out of people, especially his daughter, dies alone and unloved.

    This isn't a story about revenge, or about the pitfalls of love. It's ultimately about taking control of your own life, and having to trade innocence for wisdom. It's not always a fair, or necessary trade, but more common than we'd like to acknowledge. ...more info
  • "Catherine! Catherine! Catherine! ..."
    Montgomery Clift is the NY socialite cad determined to marry a fortune; Olivia DeHaviland is his innocent victim. She is blind to his game, but her father (expertly played by Ralph Richardson) is wise to him and refuses to sanction his daughter's marriage. The couple decide to elope, but when Clift learns that Richardson has made a new will cutting deHaviland's inheritance to a paltry allowance, he deserts her. He comes back years later after Richardson's death, smooth-talking as ever (he explains to deHaviland that he left her so that she could regain her inheritance - he did it for her, and even WE almost believe him!). Her "revenge" and kiss-off of Clift at movie's end is a classic scene. An excellent movie; based on Henry James's WASHINGTON SQUARE. The "Wyler touch" is evident throughout....more info
  • Needed, a DVD Transfer
    Miriam Hopkins, no longer young and with lines of age gathered around her mouth and her expressive, huge eyes, dominates the first part of THE HEIRESS with her firefly impression of Catherine's loving aunt. She darts around the dance scene, trying to make sure her wallflower niece has enough men's names signed up to the tiny dance card that hangs on a gold string from her wrist. Inevitably she gets caught up in the music herself, and through Hopkins' sensitive movements you can watch her character disappear for a moment to the waltzes of her own youth, before remembering and "coming to" again to see to her beloved niece. William Wyler, the director, is said to have driven most actors mad with his insistent need to film scenes dozens of times, over and over, will he got some particulat nuance that he wanted out of their performance. And yet actor sloved him once they saw the results. And he was loyal too, sometimes providing the only work an actor might hope to get after his star had fallen for whatever reason (and it happens to nearly every actor). Most of Miriam Hopkins' later parts--the best of them at any rate--were undertaken for Wyler, for whom at the peak of her stardom she had made THESE THREE back in 1936. There was her wonderful Lavinia here, in THE HEIRESS, a luminous portrayal indeed; then there was a darker part as Olivier's wife in CARRIE (1952); finally she was the unbelievably selfish and egocentric Aunt Lily in THE CHILDREN'S HOUR--a range that shows her getting worse and worse as she got older, so perhaps Wyler wasn't entirely good for her after all.

    But here, at least, Hopkins fans have little to complain of. Though only 14 years older than De Havilland, in movie terms she was a whole other generation. De Havilland was maybe 31 or 32 when she played Catherine Sloper and, although she's no girl, she was still able to call up some girlish naivete and whole-heartedness while playing the scenes in which she falls headlong for young Morris Townsend. When he plays her mother's piano for her you can watch her heart leap up into her throat: an astonishing display of the physical, nearly Actors Studio response De Havilland puts into play when working with Clift.

    And oh, that wonderful Copland score, I can't say enough about it. There are some scores which sweep you away and let their magnificence do all the "directing," and then there are the simple, lovely ones like THE HEIRESS which never detract, which only illuminate, the performances they undershadow. There's a grand CD of Copland's movie music by the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, in which THE HEIRESS score is miniaturized down to something under ten minutes. Listen to it, and everything precious about this great film will come to you via osmosis and through Copland's tonal color....more info
  • "Since you couldn't love me, you should've let someone else try."
    In this superb classic drama, Olivia de Havilland plays Catherine Sloper, a shy, naive, and rather ugly young woman who lives with her emotionally abusive father in 19th-century New York City. She is very awkward in public and mostly keeps to herself. That is, until she meets the dashing young Morris Townsend (Monty Clift), who sweeps her off her feet and quickly wins her heart. But Catherine's cruel father suspects that all Morris is after is her fortune, and he tries everything to prevent his daughter from seeing the "penniless fortune-hunter" Morris, who for lack of better words is simply a 19th-century slacker that refuses to work!

    But Morris insists that he's in love with Catherine, and they make plans to elope. But when the time comes for Morris to pick her up late at night, Catherine is left waiting and Morris never shows. Instead, he heads for California and Catherine meanwhile becomes an incredibly bitter cynic. Catherine's relationship with her father goes from bad to worse and they eventually realize just how much they despise each other. Catherine feels such anger towards her father that even when he finally becomes terminally ill she refuses to see him. With his death Catherine is richer than ever, but at least in this case money can't buy happiness, and she remains lonely and bitter.

    Years later Morris returns and tries to explain his reasons for abandoning her that night they were to elope, and he claims he's still deeply in love with her. Over the years Catherine has indeed changed from a "plain jane" to an attractive woman, and so his claim is at least more believable now. Catherine then faces a tough decision: forgive Morris and marry him, or abandon him as he did her so many years ago. I won't spoil the ending, but I firmly believe that Catherine made the right choice.

    "The Heiress" presented Olivia de Havilland with one of her most challenging roles, yet she was nothing short of brilliant. Few actresses could've given such a convincing performance. Monty Clift played his part so well that at times you really didn't know what to believe about his character. And Ralph Richardson, who played Olivia de Havilland's mean-hearted father, was likewise outstanding and had a commanding prescence at all times. They really did a great job making Olivia de Havilland look ugly. In fact, it was so convincing that immediately after watching this film I had to watch "Dodge City" just to remind myself how beautiful she was! In short, this is a wonderful classic that only improves with age. Highly recommended! ...more info
  • Did Monty Love Her?

    "The Heiress" is an excellent period piece as viewers are transported back to the 1890s. While most of the action is limited to an elegant town house, the sense of era is unmistakable. Olivia de Havilland carries the picture. She is a young, far from unattractive, sheltered woman-far too young to play the spinster. Viewers quickly realize that she is a blatant victim of what we would now call verbal abuse. Her role will resonate with anyone who has suffered even the mildest parental oppression! Sir Ralph Richardson is cast as the wealthy, overbearing, harshly critical father. He is uniformly excellent is his cruel and stiff-necked role. Nothing the hectored daughter can do will possibly please him. The pot boils when an unattached man takes an interest in her. Montgomery Clift is the young suitor and the central conflict quickly builds: Is he the biggest gold digger in New York City? (Richardson's view). Or is he a nice, attractive eligible male, perfect husband material? (de Havilland's view). Does he just want her money? Is she so love starved that she can't see straight? Richardson puts his foot down and threatens to disinherit his daughter if she marries Clift. Monty gets the word and splits, leaving Olivia alone and lonely. Did he leave because he only wanted her fortune? Or, as this reviewer believes, did he leave because he didn't want to COST the girl her fortune? The pot boils over when Monty returns and proposes! Does the leading lady fall into his arms? Or, does she turn the gold digging rat of a man away? This review won't reveal what happens! The ending is, to its' credit, definite and firm! Amazoners will just have to watch "The Heiress" for themselves but viewers will not be disappointed. This movie is actually quite suspenseful, almost noirish with the black and white background framing of those dank and dreary townhouse rooms. Though a flop at the box office, "The Heiress" did well at Oscar time: It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (Richardson), Best Set Direction and of all things, Best Musical Score. It won the Oscar for Score, Set- and Best Actress. That was a foregone conclusion since de Havilland had already swept The New York Film Critics and The Golden Globes. Someone must have liked those gloomy rooms and the non-essential music! Richardson could not compete with Dean Jagger, for his role in a great movie, "Twelve O' Clock High". Other statuettes went to "All the King's Men" for Best Picture and to Joseph L. Mankiewicz for Best Director ("A Letter to Three Wives"). Credit Tom O'Neil's "Movie Awards" for the historical tidbits. Critics may carp that this movie's transition from stage to screen was uneven. "The Heiress" is indeed part play-similar to many other releases. The flaw is far from fatal. This is a highly recommended movie with a good no nonsense ending. This reviewer sides with Monty: It says here that he loved her! Amazoners are encouraged to watch and form their own opinions!
    ...more info
  • Why isn't this on DVD?
    One of the best films of the 40's with one of the best acting jobs in the history of film by Olivia deHavilland in the title role. It is just sinful MCA or whomever has the rights won't release this on DVD along with Olivia's other Paramount Best Actress film, "To Each His Own"(1946).
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  • Olivia deHaviland - Unforgettable Actress
    I first saw this movie at 15 in early 1950. At that time, I thought it was great, but also frightening due to my age and inexperience. Saw it again in my 40's and really appreciated the great performances by the four main characters. This is one of those fabulous films you never get tired of. I have in recent years watched it on TCM and also purchased the film to watch at home. Olivia deHaviland is my all time favorite actress. Growing up in the 40's and 50's, though I always admired her, never thought of her as being number one. As far as actresses, Joan Crawford, Vivien Leigh, Jane Wyman, or more recently Meryl Streep rated at or near the top. However, after seeing more of Olivia deHaviland's films such as "To Each His Own" or "The Snake Pit" and then as an older adult once again seeing "The Heiress" there is no doubt she is the greatest movie actress in the history of Hollywood. Though her character, Catherine, was a plain jane, Olivia deHaviland is one of the screens great beauties. I highly recommend this film for anyone if you want to see a compelling story that moves at just the right pace and never leaves you bored. Wonderful, wonderful film....more info
  • Riveting...Washington Square may have changed, but not human behavior...
    Spellbinding movie. The characters portrayed are played to perfection by the entire cast. The transformation of Olivia DeHavilland from a naive, introverted and socially awkward young woman to a shrewd and stern mistress of Washington Square is well worth watching. Montgomery Cliff as a calculating and opportunistic loafer is a sight to behold. Ralph Richardson in his brilliant performance as Olivia's father is gripping. Overall, the depiction of human nature of this production is captured in a manner so entrancing that you can't take your eyes off the screen. This movie is a perpetual gem. ...more info
  • Havilland at her best
    What more could you ask than to see Olivia in her Acadmeny Award winning role. One would never believe that such a beautiful actress could tame her good looks and become the plain looking, empty headed daughter. Oliva is mesmerizing as a young girl who falls in love, is betrayed by her own father, and then by her betrothed.

    Her ultimate revenge comes as both come to points in their lives when they need her and she strikes back with the perfect 'dagger' to repay their treachery. ...more info
  • The Heiress
    The Heiress is an amazing movie. I've always liked the classics and I find this one to be very suspenseful and exciting. I would recommend this movie to anyone....more info
  • Great service.
    Good seller and great service. Movie was in tip-top condition. I got exactly what I paid for and appreciate that. ...more info
  • Montgomery clift at his best!
    I absolutely love this movie! Montgomery clift is very good but the movie belongs to Olivia De Haviland. The acting and writing is top notch and montgomery is as beautiful as ever....more info
  • The Heiress
    As soon as I got the alert that this film was availabe on DVD, I clicked on the link and bought it. This film is excellent and I hope viewers enjoy it as much as I did.
    I first saw the movie at my Dad's suggestion. I thought it was going to be boring but have truly enjoyed it from the first time I saw it. It literally captivated me.
    It's a wonderful movie. I can now tape over the VHS tape I keep this movie on....more info
  • A Study Of Great Acting
    Every So Often You See A Movie That Is Truly A Materpiece//
    I Would Say That This Is It/Olivia DeHavilland Montgomery Clift
    Ralph Richardson And Miriam Hopkins Each Get My Personal Oscar For A
    Great Performance/If There Are Any Young Actors Who Wish To Be Up There
    On The Screen//They Don't Have To Study With Teachers//If They have Any Talent All They Have To Do Is Watch This Movie//If They can't Learn
    Anything About Acting After Watching This Movie//Then They Better Get A Daytime Job//This Movie Also Has One Of The Best Scripts And Great Pacing
    and Direction//Most Young Men And Young Ladies Who Study Acting Should Watch This Movie/Since Most Teachers Are Former Actors Who Never Made It/
    There May Be One Or more That Do Not Fit This Bill//Recently I Watched A Remake Of This Movie THE HEIRESS//It Was Called Washington Square And It
    was So Very Bad That I Would Like The People Who Acted In This Movie and
    The Writers And Director and Producers To All Watcn The Heiress//Maybe
    They Will Learn Something// However I Doubt It/I Am Very Happy That They
    Put The Heiress Out On DVD//Now I Hope That They Put Edward G. Robinsons
    THE HATCHET MAN Early 1930's And Robert Donat's Count Of Monte Cristo
    out On DVD//I'll Be The First To Buy Them//Again I Say Treat Yourself And Watch A Great Movie THE HEIRESS
    Stanley Cooper Jupiter Florida...more info
  • The Heiress starring Olivia de Havilland
    This by far is one of my favorite movies ever! It gives an in-site to the mind and heart of human nature Olivia de Havilland, thou dull, shines in this movie. ...more info
  • Such sweet revenge!
    Fortune seeker misses the X. Maybe she would have been happy with him. At least they would have gotten what they both wanted, right? I can really see Olivia de Havilland's character transform into a cold, hard and lonely woman. Her posture, her face and voice are of a completely different woman. In the end when he comes back and thinks he's finally in, it's almost sad to see him pounding at the door. It's a nice feeling that she's no longer a fool, but sad to see her alone....more info
  • Great Experience for Monty Clift Fans
    I enjoyed this movie tremendously. I loved the period settings and language . And although the plot seemed predictable ... the ending was not. I highly recommend it....more info
  • Truly a classic
    I had already seen the 1997 remake of this Henry James novella and wasn't overly impressed with it. The glowing reviews and Amazon's hearty recommendation led me to purchase the original from William Wyler; much more satisfying, I had more of a gut-level reaction to the ending in this version; chalk that up to the superb performance by Olivia de Havilland. She was pitch-perfect in each scene and she's in almost every scene. Also very good was Ralph Richardson as the brutally cold father and Montgomery Clift as the suitor suspected of being a fortune-hunter. The acting really is top-notch and William Wyler's direction is superb. I'll happily add it to my favorite classic film list. The bonus materials are basically non-existent; a trailer and a very short commentary by TCM's Robert Osborne are about it.....but not worth quibbling about since the film itself is such an enjoyable experience. Worthwhile.
    ...more info
  • olivia de haviland has her finest moment
    this took forever to show up on dvd, and its a pity because its among the best film of the late 1940s. director william wyler creates the world of henry james "washington square" on screen with olivia de haviland (whom im not usually a fan of) giving a perfect performance as the not very bright and not very attractive young woman of means who is swept off her feet by attractive impoverished cad montgomrey clift (the definition of gorgeous here, btw), much to the consternation of her tyrannical father, rendered brilliantly by ralph richardson. with a supporting cast of familiar and respected faces, as well as right-on perfect art direction, musical score, &c: this is the epitome of what type of movie hollywood could render back then. great in every which way!
    ...more info
  • The Heiress - a movie which impresses
    This is an exceptional film by any standards. The acting is disciplined and realistic to our concept of what life must have been like for upper society during the mid to late 19th century.

    The story is a roller coaster of emotion from the heights of Catherine (Olivia De Havilland) 's new found love to the depths of lonely finality. Everything in this movie, including the acting is superb. The Heiress is truly from the Golden Age of Hollywood. It makes you realize what is missing from the majority of films today....more info
  • The Heiress

    This movie definitely deserves all the
    critical acclaim it has received. It is a
    wonderful period masterpiece that has aged well.
    Olivia de Havilland was rightfully awarded an
    Oscar for her textbook perfect performance of
    an emotionally mistreated heiress in 18th
    century New York.

    The script, art direction, and costumes raise
    the credibility level of the drama.
    Although Katharine (de Havilland) is not what
    we would consider an ugly duckling, her austere
    performance draws the viewer into believing what
    is presented. She gradually learns that her best
    defense in overcoming a lifetime of mental abuse
    is to take on the character of her abusers. She
    then uses their own abusive tactics against them
    and when the dust clears, she stands as the solid
    winner. In the end, Katharine is content with knowing
    that while she has lost a lot on the surface
    (a father's love, a fiance, etc) she really has
    lost nothing at all.

    The great scripting of Henry James' novel (Washington Square)
    contains a subliminal allure that will keep the
    viewer interested in a seemingly basic story.
    This movie is an intelligently entertaining classic....more info