Movie Mirrors Index

A Place In the Sun

(1951 b 122')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Based on Theodore’s Dreiser’s novel, An American Tragedy, a poor man with a rich relative has an affair with a factory worker and then falls in love with a beautiful debutante.

         George Eastman (Montgomery Clift) calls on his wealthy uncle Charles Eastman (Herbert Heyes) and asks for a job. Earl Eastman (Keefe Brasselle) tells George he must not mix with female employees. George works on an assembly line.

         George sees Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters) in a cinema, walks her home, and kisses her. George dates Alice. Charles Eastman promotes George and invites him to a party. George meets Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor). Charles tells George to call his mother (Anne Revere), who works in a mission. Angela asks George to dance. George goes to see Alice late on his birthday. She asks about Angela and cries. Alice says she is in trouble.

         George calls Alice to say he is trying to find her a doctor. George gets a call from Angela and goes with her to a party. They dance, and he says he loves her. She loves him too.

         Alice admits to a doctor she is not married. She tells George that he has to marry her, but he says he would lose his job. She wants to get married during his vacation. Angela invites George to visit her at the lake on his vacation. George tells Alice that his uncle invited him.

         Angela and George have fun at the lake, and she intends to marry him. While George is at dinner, Alice calls him from the bus station and demands he come. George makes an excuse and leaves.

On Labor Day he takes Alice on a picnic. George says he ran out of gas and rents a boat under another name. It gets dark, and Alice asks if he wishes she were dead. The boat capsizes. She can’t swim, but he makes it ashore. Campers see George, and he finds his car.

         Angela finds George drinking. He asks her to run away, but she wants a big wedding. Frank Marlowe (Raymond Burr) investigates Alice’s drowning. George tells Tony Vickers (Shepperd Strudwick) about his poor family, and he says he loves Angela. A cop gives Angela a speeding ticket. George says he is tired and is afraid that Angela will stop loving him. He goes into the woods and is arrested. Marlowe accuses George of murder.

         Marlowe questions the Vickers. Angela faints. Charles Eastman hires lawyers who believe George’s story that he couldn’t go through with it.

         Marlowe prosecutes George, and Bellows (Fred Clark) defends him. George testifies that he thought of drowning Alice but changed his mind. Marlow gets him to admit he lied three times. Marlowe acts out the crime.

         The jury finds George guilty of first-degree murder. George’s mother visits him in a jail with a minister, who asks George if he could have saved her. He realizes  he was thinking of Angela, not Alice. Angela visits George, who admits he is guilty. She kisses him and says goodbye. George is taken to be executed.

         This romantic drama depicts the separation of two social classes and the conflict of a man trying to move one from to the other. Psychologically he comes to realize that his selfish motivations brought about results that a deeper part of him could have avoided.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index