Thursday, August 19, 2021

A Place in the Sun (1951) Paramount Presents Blu Ray Review

A Place in the Sun (1951) Paramount Presents 8/10/2021

Directed By: George Stevens

Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Cliff, Shelley Winters, Raymond Burr

Disclaimer: Paramount Pictures has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

Other Paramount Present Reviews:

Mommie Dearest HERE
48 Hrs.  HERE
Another 48 Hrs. HERE
Last Train from Gun Hill HERE

     Based on the 1926 novel An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser 1951's A Place in the Sun tells the story of  a young man named George Eastman (Montgomery Cliff). He blows into town and  comes to work with for his rich Uncle. Though he is strictly forbidden to date co-workers he starts to fall in love with a assembly worker named Alice (Shelley Winters). Later on he falls for the upper class Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor) and thus a triangle forms. George sets his sights on Vickers but is it trouble when he gets Alice pregnant. A dangerous idea forms in his head.  

    A Place in the Sun was not a huge box office smash (just making 7 million on a 2.3 million budget) but it did sweep the Oscar's winning six golden statues. I admit that this is the first time watching A Place in the Sun, a movie that carried a reputation in some circles as being a stone cold classic and by others as overrated and dated. I agree that some aspects seem dated even for the time, and the story is a bit on the simplistic side. However, I still think the movie has enough well written drama to make it a richly compelling character study. Not to mention just how much talent was poured into this film from both behind and in front of the camera. Elizabeth Taylor and  Montgomery Cliff are simply a stunning on screen couple. The two real life friends and they have a chemistry that you cannot fake. Each one has their moments to shine but also play so well off one another. Shelley Winters, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Alice is also fantastic and gives a career high performance. 

    While I don't think its one the best '50s films I do consider this a prime example of amazing filmmaking and acting. A Place in the Sun is a dark, and at times bleak commentary on American values, and one of the last sweeping drama epics of Hollywood's Golden era.   

Picture: A Place in the Sun from Paramount Presents marks the films Blu Ray US debut. Sporting a new 4k transfer, Paramount Presents once again knocks it outta the park. The Oscar winning cinematography is highlighted with this crisp and extremely sharp looking picture. The black-and-white photography is extremely well contrasted with a stabilized image temp. throughout Grain has been completely smoothed and not a speck of dirt, artifacts or noise to be found. What we are left with is a pristine 

Sound: A Place in the Sun shines with a DTS 5.1 track. The dialogue comes through nice and clear and Franz Waxman's fantastic score is highlighted incredibly well. Someone front heavy channel wise but has a nice robust quality that makes it a nice upgrade. 

Extras: New to this is Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on A Place in the Sun (7mins) As always Maltin gives a great amount of historical context on the making of and impact of A Place in the Sun. 

Also included is a Commentary by George Stevens Jr and Ivan Moffat

Features ported over from the DVD version: George Stevens and His Place in the Sun, George Stevens: Filmmakers Who Knew Him, Trailer 

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