Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CARRIE (1952)

CARRIE (1952). Director: William Wyler.

"When you're poor it gets all mixed up; you like the people who are good to you."

Carrie Meeber (Jennifer Jones) says goodbye to her family and takes the train to Chicago, where she hopes to find a better life. What she finds is one man, Charles (Eddie Albert), who takes care of her but is slow to offer marriage, and another man, George (Laurence Olivier), a restaurant manager, who wants to marry her but already has a wife (Miriam Hopkins). Still, he takes steps to have Carrie for his own, leading inexorably to bitter disillusionment and tragedy. This is not a mere soap opera but a fascinating, mesmerizing drama with superb performances from all. Olivier's portrait of the manager who gives up everything for passion is brilliant and haunting. Jones gives one of her all-time best performances, right up there with Olivier from start to finish. David Raksin offers an interesting score, while Wyler's direction is as assured and compelling as ever. From the chilling early scenes showing Carrie at work in a dehumanizing sweatbox to the final devastating, deeply affecting moments, this is pure gold.

Verdict: Powerful adaptation of Drieser's Sister Carrie. ****.

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