Lat night we watched The Heiress, a reworking of the Henry James novella Washington Square, starring Olivia De Havilland, Ralph Richardson and Mongomery Clift.
The story is well known. A rather plain and uninteresting girl is a disappointment to her father, a successful and accomplished doctor. She is unexpectedly courted by a handsome and well-mannered young man who proposes marriage. The doctor, suspecting a fortune hunter, threatens to disinherit her. Despite this they plan to elope, but the young man with only 10,000 dollars a year to collect rather than the 30,000 he was expecting does not turn up. She blames her father and he dies with their differences unresolved. Years later the young man turns up and tries it on again but she exacts her revenge on him.
A comment on the father's actions: he was more concerned with doing what was right than with doing what was good.
The 1949 film is excellent. It was directed with terrific skill by Wiliam Wyler and Olivia De Havilland won her second Oscar for the part. Richardson was also nominated and it is hard to see how he did not win (Broderick Crawford won for "All the King's Men.")
Aaron Copeland won an Oscar for the score and the song Plaisir d'Amour was featured. The lyrics sum up the theme of the film:
Plaisir d'amour ne dure qu'un moment.
chagrin d'amour dure toute la vie.
The joy of love lasts only a moment
The pain of love lasts a lifetime.
It was written in 1780 by Jean Paul Égide Martini and set to music by Hector Berlioz.