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A Place in the Sun (1951)


Kid Dabb
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Leonard Maltin's review mentions how absurd Raymond Burr's scenes as the D.A. are.
 
I have read that the original line-up for the Perry Mason tv series was to have William Talman as Perry Mason, and Raymond Burr as Hamilton Burger - District Attorney. These roles were switched. I now wonder whether Burr's performance in A Place in the Sun (1951) had any influence on those casting the parts for the Perry Mason tv series (1957).
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2wdvxip.jpg

 

 

Leonard Maltin's review mentions how absurd Raymond Burr's scenes as the D.A. are.
 
I have read that the original line-up for the Perry Mason tv series was to have William Talman as Perry Mason, and Raymond Burr as Hamilton Burger - District Attorney. These roles were switched. I now wonder whether Burr's performance in A Place in the Sun (1951) had any influence on those casting the parts for the Perry Mason tv series (1957).

 

 I loved Burr as the DA.  I thought his scenes were excellent.  I loved how much tension there was and I actually felt scared for Montgomery Clift.  This film was interesting as it actually didn't end happily.  I definitely did not expect the film to end the way it did.

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Every time I watch this I expect Montgomery Clift to be found not guilty or have his case appealed, but those would be untidy endings. So I guess him going to the chair, a la Cagney in Angels with Dirty Faces harkens back to the good ol' days of film making. An homage, perhaps.

 

I do feel sorry for George though. I believe he could have crawled out of that lake and gone straight for help, telling the truth about the accident and have nothing to worry about. That would be a boring ending - anticlimactic. He wasn't thinking straight because Alice fried his brain when she threatened to expose their relationship.

 

Oh well, I'll watch it again sometime - hoping for a not guilty verdict. One of these days, Alice...

:)

 

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Every time I watch this I expect Montgomery Clift to be found not guilty or have his case appealed, but those would be untidy endings. So I guess him going to the chair, a la Cagney in Angels with Dirty Faces harkens back to the good ol' days of film making. An homage, perhaps.
 

 

Seeing as how Cagney in AWDF is actually a thug and not "an average guy" induced by circumstances into committing murder so he could get the woman of his dreams, I think a much better parallel to draw to the ending of this film would be Garfield's ultimate fate in "The Postman Always Rings Twice", Kid.

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Every time I watch this I expect Montgomery Clift to be found not guilty or have his case appealed, but those would be untidy endings.

 

 

Keep in mind that Theodore Dreisers' novel "An American Tragedy",  on which the movie is based, was itself based on a real-life trial that happened in upstate New York so having him get off at the end was not an option.

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Keep in mind that Theodore Dreisers' novel "An American Tragedy",  on which the movie is based, was itself based on a real-life trial that happened in upstate New York so having him get off at the end was not an option.

 

While I understand what you're saying,  don't forget that the concept of artistic license always allows for changes, especially in the ending, that don't minor what really happened.    But I'm glad the ending wasn't changed just so the male star didn't have to die or even be guilty of a crime (often what the suits wanted in order to not damage the reputation of a star).

 

While the film isn't a noir,   the Clift character has many of the traits of a noir character.   He isn't a bad man but he was indifferent, unfocused and clueless.    That often leads to death in the noir world. 

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While I understand what you're saying,  don't forget that the concept of artistic license always allows for changes, especially in the ending, that don't minor what really happened.    But I'm glad the ending wasn't changed just so the male star didn't have to die or even be guilty of a crime (often what the suits wanted in order to not damage the reputation of a star).

 

While the film isn't a noir,   the Clift character has many of the traits of a noir character.   He isn't a bad man but he was indifferent, unfocused and clueless.    That often leads to death in the noir world. 

True, but I haven't read the book since I was in school so I don't know how much artistic license was already taken with the screenplay (a lot I imagine) or how much Dreiser took with the facts of the case when he wrote the book. Regardless, with a true case that was so big in the news when it happened and later a bestselling book, Paramount would have looked pretty stupid changing the ending just so they didn't have to kill off their star. Not to say Hollywood hasn't done stupid things like that before...or since for that matter.

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     I wish TCM would show the original version "An American Tragedy" from 1931 starring

Phillips Holmes and Sylvia Sidney instead of repeatedly showing this version with Taylor and Clift.

 

I'd like to see that one myself

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     Thanks Fred for the clip of "An American Tragedy". It looks like you have a good print there so obviously the film is out there and in good shape so why doesn't TCM obtain it? They could run it back to back with its remake.

     I just remembered: it's a Paramount film owned by Universal so it's probably next to impossible to obtain it on loan.

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