The Heiress, one of the most intense psychological dramas to issue from 1940s Hollywood, unfolds almost entirely under one roof: that of the well-appointed Manhattan town house where tremulous Catherine Sloper (an Oscar-winning Olivia de Havilland) lives with her domineering father (Ralph Richardson), and is courted by a strapping young man (Montgomery Clift) of uncertain intentions. Though the 1840s-set film, based on a theatrical adaptation of Henry James’s Washington Square, seldom strays from this single location, director William Wyler and his cast use the subtlest of gestures to construct a world that doesn’t feel the least bit stage-bound. As screenwriter Jay Cocks and critic Farran Smith Nehme observe in the video above, taken from a supplement on our chock-full new edition of The Heiress, the movie’s unostentatious camera movement invites viewers into the action rather than simply punctuating it. Cocks and Nehme also go on to discuss how Wyler and de Havilland transform one particular borrowing from James’s novel—Catherine’s embroidery—into a brilliantly piercing visual motif.
How Paweł Pawlikowski Reimagined His Parents’ Fiery Romance for the Big Screen
As the director explains to filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the love story at the heart of the Oscar-nominated drama Cold War has its roots in his own family history.
A Daytrippers Trio Looks Back on Their Indie Miracle
Director Greg Mottola reunites with two cast members of his debut feature—Liev Schreiber and Parker Posey—to reminisce about the joys and trials they experienced on the set of this shoestring marvel.
The Trove of Muhammad Ali Footage That Almost Went Unseen
Producer David Sonenberg charts the long road When We Were Kings, which ultimately won an Oscar for best documentary, had to travel to make it to the big screen.