Pros:cast, script, direction
"A Place in the Sun" was an enormous commercial
Recommend this product?
and critical success. Starring sensitive
Montgomery Clift, beautiful young Elizabeth
Taylor, and featuring a tragic love triangle as
the story, the film had substantial appeal,
particularly to women.
George (Clift) has been scraping out a living as
an unskilled laborer. He visits his well-to-do
uncle, who gives him a job in his bathing suit
factory. George starts his new career at the
bottom, meeting frumpy Alice (Shelley Winters) as
a fellow drudge on the assembly line. Despite a
company rule against fraternization, they see
each other. Alice becomes pregnant, and presses
him for a marriage that would mire him deeper in
Meanwhile, George has begun dating boss's
daughter and brunette goddess Angela (Taylor).
George has also been promised a promotion to
management. However, Alice is in the way of his
plans. George decides to take her boating... and
you guess the rest.
"A Place in the Sun" is based on Theodore
Dreiser's novel "An American Tragedy", which was
filmed in 1931. Not having seen this movie, I
compare "Place" with the 1927 classic "Sunrise",
which also features a love triangle, a boating
accident, and second thoughts from the
protagonist. Clift's character is as gentle and
earnest as ever, but has some of the ambition and
duplicity of his role from "The Heiress".
Winters, who played a dynamic romantic lead in
"Winchester '73" from the year before (1950), is
depicted as poor, drab, clinging and
self-pitying. The contrast between her and
dazzling rich girl Taylor could not be greater.
Perhaps Taylor's breathless character isn't fully
credible. She falls too quickly and deeply in
love with Clift, and remains loyal to him to the
end, even paying him a visit on death row. Also,
Raymond Burr acts both as police detective and
prosecutor (it must be quite a small town).
High production values and a good script and cast
paid off at the Academy Awards as well as the box
office. "A Place in the Sun" was nominated for
Best Picture and won six Oscars, including Best
Director (George Stevens), Screenplay (Michael
Wilson, Harry Brown) and Black & White
Cinematography (William C. Mellor). Clift and
Winters were also nominated for Best Actor and