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DownGoesFrazier

A LETTER TO THREE WIVES

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*According to the writeup in Now Playing that appeared in that July issue, Sothern's biggest disappointment came when her agent gave the cold shoulder to an offer to have her co-star in Zorba the Greek after Simone Signoret had pulled out. When Anthony Quinn later told her that he wished she could have worked with him on that movie (which won Lila Kedrova an Oscar), Sothern said that this was the first time she'd even known that the part had been offered! Her agent had simply failed to notify her.*

 

I remember reading somewhere how Quinn and the producers called every actress of a "certain age" (or their agents) and offered them the role, to no avail. Too bad Sothern's agent turned it down for her without even mentioning it. But it worked out quite well for Kedrova.

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>Well this member of the audience did NOT feel Catherine shutting out Morris from her life was a mistake. Morris was still after only money. My view is that Catherine had grown and was now ready to find a man that would love her for her character and not her money.

 

The most plausible explanation. The snipping of the embroidery strand was the end of her old life.

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Incidentally, Wendy Hiller had played Catherine on Broadway. Though well-known, she didn't stand a chance for the film role once Olivia purchased the rights.

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I can see it. I just assumed that she was talking about OTHERS who taught her how to be cruel to Morris. (Morris? Sounds like the name of an owner of a Kosher deli)

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OR, how some southerners might pronounce the name of the guy who invented the telegraph???

 

(...'cause I once worked with a lady from Texas who always pronounced the name of a fellow coworker of our's by the name Jeff as "Jay-eff", among many other single syllable names and words she'd drag out to two syllables...gotta admit it WAS kinda cute, though)

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If it makes ya feel any better here Lavender, I fully agree with your earlier stated take on the personal dynamics involved, the mindsets and the motivations of the two lead characters in "The Heiress".

 

(...and "somehow" think the earlier idea brought up by another about them being "****" is full of...well...YOU know!) ;)

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Thanks Dargo Yes, it's less frustrating when there are posters who actually paid attention to the story. Love the book and I've always loved this film and glad you agree and see the points I made ;) She was far from ****. Doubt Henry James would have taken kindly to that odd view of Catherine offered up by others.

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>recently got in trouble for using the word "****"

 

gaah.gif

 

Yeah, it's really annoying to hear college age kids giggling when I say, "The chemical retardant..."

 

I also cannot use the excellent descriptive word "impotent" in conversation either. Political correctness has hobbled our language.

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Well one could say the Aunt was cruel but unlike the two men in Catherine's life the Aunt had good intentions. She was so open and honest that some of her statements could be viewed as cruel.

 

That is the only other character I could think of. (just trying to help finance since he is taking such a beating here!).

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finance can handle it.

 

We should really start a thread dedicated to *The Heiress*, since everyone has at least as much to say about it as about *Letter to Three Wives*.

 

"That said", for now I'll put in my two cents worth on *The Heiress*, (This can no longer be done in Canada, as we have eliminated the poor little one-cent piece, also known as "the penny". But I digress - and this conversation about *The Heiress* is already a digression from the original topic, not that there's anything wrong with that, so to make it worse by blathering on about pennies and their removal from monetary circulation in Canada only exacerbates the problem blahblahblah...)

 

Sorry.

 

Ok: It is absolute nonsense to suggest that Catherine Sloper was "****".Political correctness aside, (right TikiSoo, it really does simply mean "slowed down") we all associate this term with the condition of having below-average intelligence, at best a compromised ability to comprehend .

Clearly Catherine is of at least normal intelligence, and quite possibly, above average.

Fred seems to be saying that if a person is not equipped with strong social graces, or at least, a good business sense, they must be "****".

The whole story, based on Henry James' novel Washington Square (which lavenderblue here has noted), would make no sense whatsoever if the main character in it was lackingin perception, sensibility, and intelligence. It would be a far less complex and heart-breaking story.

In fact, even to counter Fred's' theory as much as I have is to insult both the story and the film, it does not deserve any further refutation.

 

Regarding the theories posited here as to Morris' returning to plead his case again, or to Catherine meeting someone else and making a new life for herself: I cannot think that Henry James intended us to believe either of those scenarios.

I don't like to think laffite is correct in his surmising suicide on Catherine's part, but I certainly agree that the snipping of the thread is symbolic (the camera does not focus on that little action for no reason.) To me it just means she is choosing to end something, put an indisputable close to it. And perhaps to any hope for future happiness. I am sure we are supposed to think that Catherine will not be hearing from Morris again. To consider that the two of them would later get together is somehow -to me - to miss the point of James' story.

 

As for comparing Catherine to *Now Voyager* 's Charlotte, lavenderblue nailed it when she said that unlike Charlotte, Catherine has no one to support and encourage her, no one to develop any latent confidence she may have been capable of. The Claude Rains character in *Now Voyager* is extremely important to Charlotte's development as a human being, and there is no such character in *The Heiress*.

 

...edit: I knew I wanted to add something else about the comments concerning Catherine and *The Heiress*. I'm pretty sure that Catherine Sloper, as imagined by her creator Henry James, is supposed to be plain, not pretty. This is part of the problem, part of why her father dislikes her, part of why she is so diffident and shy, part of why so few young men seek her out. Not ugly, but not pretty, not physically attractive. Plain.

Of course it was unthinkable for Hollywood to cast a genuinely plain woman in a lead role like that (in fact, ironically, think of Olivia's sister Joan Fontaine in *Rebecca*. Her character too, was supposed to be a plain young woman, and just look at Joan, with or without glamourous clothes...) so they got beautiful Olivia de Havilland and thickened up her eyebrows a bit.

So the theory that since Catherine was pretty and would therefore attract a husband at some point does not hold up. Olivia de Havilland is pretty; Catherine Sloper is not.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Feb 12, 2014 9:33 PM

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YES! MissW- We are in complete agreement here and Thank You for reading and getting my posts about the comparision of Charlotte and Catherine.Poor Catherine, not only abused by her father and so hurt by Morris, but abused and misunderstood by a few on the these bds!

 

Just read your add-on to your post and I also agree. I believe that Catherine does not eventually have a life with Morris, or meet another man. It would cheapen the story to have a la de da Hollywood ending to Catherine Sloper. And yes again I agree with you, to believe either of those scenerios is to miss the point of the story.This is meant to be a heatbreaking and poignant story, not a fairy tale.

 

Edited by: lavenderblue19 on Feb 12, 2014 9:55 PM

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>Political correctness has hobbled our language.

 

AAAKKKK!

 

You said "hobbled"! You can't say "hobbled" anymore! That implies someone has a walking challenge!

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>Lebron James recently got in trouble for using the word "****", and now Fred is going down the same path.

 

You can't say "going down the same path" anymore. That implies that something is wrong with the path and that the person going down the path is stupid for going down it.

 

I used a 1949 term for a character in a 1949 movie. Aspergers was not known by the general public in those days since a doctor Asperger described the syndrome in 1944, and it took a few decades to catch on. Anyway, I'm not sure she had Aspergers, since I'm not a doctor.

 

Wiki says of her in the original novel, Washington Square, 1880:

 

"his daughter Catherine. Catherine is a sweet-natured young woman who is a great disappointment to her father, being physically plain and, he believes, *dull in terms of personality and intellect*."

 

In this case (and in 1880 and 1949) "dull in terms of intellect" means ****.

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"Dull in terms of intellect" does not mean "****", nor did it mean that in 1880.

Dr. Sloper's wife had been beautiful, lively, and witty, and he was disappointed that his daughter was none of those things.

To be "dull in terms of intellect" , in the case of Washington Square, just means lacking in wit. Not being fast on the uptake, not good at clever repartee.

If Fred thinks the above definition is to be equated with being "****", then several posters on these boards could conceivably be labelled as such.

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LOL

 

Hey MiisW! Ever get the impression you're occasionally talkin' to a "****" WALL around here, now and then??? ;)

 

(...I know the feelin'!)

 

LOL

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With regards to Catherine what is more realistic as it relates to her future: That she remains so bitter that she shuts herself off from society and never develops a serious relationship with a man OR that she moves forward and does what 90% of people do; has a serious relationship and finds a partner?

 

Why would the later be a ?la de da Hollywood ending?? Why would it be a fairy tale for Catherine to have grown from her traumatic experience and to move on in a way most people do?

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