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A Place In The Sun Blu-ray Review

“A Place In The Sun” is lifted up by its cast.

Based on the novel “An American Tragedy,” “A Place In The Sun” is a drama that revolves around George Eastman- the nephew of a business mogul (Charles). George is looking for respectable work and he ends up working in an Eastman factory with the hopes of working his way up. Even though it is forbidden by the company to date an employee, George ends up being romantically involved with co-worker Alice. Things seem to be going well between the two until George starts falling for a gorgeous socialite (Angela). The relationship between George and Angela becomes serious, but he’s still reluctantly in a relationship with Alice (who is now pregnant). What will George decide to do? What will his fate be?

While it may be a classic, I don’t love “A Place In The Sun” like some. The George Stevens directed 1951 feature certainly has much to admire with its artful direction and cinematography by William C. Mellor (there are numerous moody and atmospheric shots), top notch acting (I’ll get to that shortly), and a rich script by Michael Wilson and Harry Brown about lust, desire, choices, guilt, class, romance, death. and morality. For me, the film’s slow burn pacing really brings the film down. While the pacing does build up the tension, it also causes the film to drag on probably longer than necessary at 121 minutes. Also, it feels like some of the character work gets lost amid the film’s thematic and story explorations. Angela in particular needed more scenes and characterization. We don’t get to know her enough. 

Speaking of Angela, Elizabeth Taylor still shines here even with a half-written character. You can see why she became such a movie star even with this role. She has such a radiant screen presence. Shelley Winters really brought the needed depth to the tragic character of Alice. This was far and away one of her best performances. The real star, in my eyes, is Montgomery Clift. I’ve always found him to be an incredibly underrated and versatile method actor who was so far ahead of his time. As George, you can both see and feel his emotional turmoil. I really appreciated his often introspective performance as it elevated the movie as a whole. The only actor who didn’t work here is Raymond Burr as the District Attorney whose over-the-top performance feels like it’s from another movie entirely.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? As with every Paramount Presents release, viewers can expect a crisp new transfer that is remastered from a 4K film transfer.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The dialogue and score are perfectly clean.

Extras:
* Digital copy
* Trailers for “A Place In The Sun,” “Shane,” and “Sunset Boulevard.”
* A new “Filmmaker Focus” segment with film critic Leonard Maltin talking about “A Place In the Sun.”
* “George Stevens And His Place In The Sun”- A 22 minute special on filmmaker George Stevens with some history about “A Place In The Sun.”
* “George Stevens: The Filmmakers Who Knew Him”- 8 director interviews with Warren Beatty, Frank Capra, Rouben Mamoulian, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Alan J. Pakula, Antonio Vellani, Robert Wise and Fred Zinnemann.
* Archival commentary by George Stevens and Ivan Moffat.

August 23, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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