Stevens' adaptation of Dreiser's 'An American Tragedy' pars down the story and succinctly tells the story of a man's morality which is corrupted by reaching for a life unattainable. Despite its ridiculous court room hysteria in the final reel the film works due to fine turns from Clift, Winters and a radiant Taylor. Winner of 6 academy awards including director, script and cinematography.
This brilliant masterpiece holds the best use of cross fade. The superimpositions are not only effective of the time passing, but they stretch temporality, and allow constant flux of emotion to pass form on shot to another, allowing the memory so ephemeral and fractured to emerge stronger than any other perception, a image so strong that imposes herself onto all others, like Taylor's and Clift's performances.
"Desire" list: was there a more ciné-ecstasy couple than this one? And Clift, was he ever so markedly indelible in memory for his extraordinary bruised beauty? A film something academic and certainly nothing unusual, that the couple Taylor-Clift brand and does what the filmmaker little knew to do.
Of course it's good, but the existential questions on free will vs class-based determinism create a tempest in my brain that I find exhausting. Can't we just be invited into wealth, get a gorgeous young Liz and ignore our past without the cost of spiritual/psychological damnation (all apropos our neo-robber-baron 1% vs digital working class world)? Could be Meat Loaf from Bat Out of Hell era in a Calvinist choir loft
A handsome young man trying to make his way in the world meets and falls in love with a rich and beautiful young woman. His dilemma? What to do about his plain and pregnant girlfriend... Stevens' excellent melodrama features Monty Clift and Liz Taylor as the beautiful couple and Shelley Winters excels in one of her 'victim' roles which she played again and again in such films as The Night Of The Hunter and Lolita....
A dark masterpiece which violently condemns the unwieldy ambition that drives the pursuit of the American Dream, here presented as the desire to attain wealth and status. Montgomery Clift, not Marlon Brando, was robbed of the Best Actor Oscar in 1951. A perfect portrayal of a man robbed of his innocence by the lure of the big city, a beautiful woman, and, very interestingly, his own birth position.