Place in the Sun, A [1951]

George Stevens won an Oscar for his 1951 adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's novel An American Tragedy, though the film seems a little overwrought today and even self-parodying at times. Still, Montgomery Clift's performance as a poor lad so drawn to a rich, beautiful girl (Elizabeth Taylor) that he contemplates killing his lower-class fiancée (Shelley Winters) is powerful, sympathetic, and mesmerizing. Taylor makes a strong impression, but Winters is awfully good in the less-glamorous role. The tone of the film is oppressive--the film doesn't exactly breathe with possibility--but there are lots of good reasons to give this movie a visit. --Tom Keogh

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