Bobby Drake: Sam, one thing you must understand, John is a poet. It’s taken me two months to discover it and therefore he loves his silence.
Cousin Sam: I’m not so sure he proves it.
Bobby Drake: That’s because he’s a moralist. You won’t get a straight answer from him. He’s storing up his opinions for another day. He’s also a dreamer. A seeker for the meaning of life with capital letters.
I first saw this film on Elizabeth Taylor day during the 2010 Summer under the Stars on TCM and I’ll admit I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. I was unsure why it was considered one of the greatest American movies. Then I saw it a second time, about six months later, on the big screen at the Egyptian Theatre during the TCM Film Festival in 2011 and suddenly I got it. That’s not to say it doesn’t necessarily translate well on the small screen (I’ve seen it many times since at home), but there was just something about seeing it on the big screen that made the magic come alive for me. I love this film so dearly and it is one I just cannot recommend enough. It was one AFI’s 100 Years. . .100 Movies list ranking at #92, but when they did their ten-year anniversary it fell off the list. It also ranked #53 on AFI’s 100 Years. . .100 Passions list. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning six. It lost Best Picture to An American in Paris, which was nominated for only eight Academy Awards, but won six as well. The only two awards An American In Paris lost (Director/Film Editing) were to A Place in the Sun, which was nominated for: Best B&W Cinematography (won), Best B&W Costume Design (won), Best Score (won), Best Screenplay (won), Best Film Editing (won), Best Actor Montgomery Clift, Best Actress Shelley Winters, Best Director (won) and Best Picture. The other films nominated that year were Decision Before Dawn, Quo Vadis, A Streetcar Named Desire and winner An American in Paris. This was also a strange year because three of the acting awards went to A Streetcar Named Desire (the fourth went Bogart in The African Queen). Also, if you look at the awards both A Place in the Sun and An American in Paris won, the only way they could have won them was because they were in separate categories (B&W vs. color, musical vs. not musical). This is part of why I love looking at the older Academy Awards ceremonies; they have a fun evolutionary history.
Carol Garth Baldwin: When you go. . .take me with you. One day soon, you’re gonna come to me and say, “Carol, I have to go.” There won’t be time to talk or to think of anything. And there’ll be a car waitin’, and then a plane, and you’ll say “Carol, honey, I have to go. . .” Isn’t that right?
Chuck Glover: Yes, that is right.
Carol Garth Baldwin: Take me with you.
The Heiress is a kind of movie that was very popular in classic era Hollywood and isn’t really made that often anymore. I mean, we get lots of period pieces ever year, but they often feel stuffy and/or Oscar-baity. What made the period dramas of this era so great is they feel modern, as in they felt modern at the time. And in doing so they still feel modern today. The Heiress or Jezebel or The Little Foxes feel as modern as any of their non-period contemporaries. I wish Hollywood could figure out how to do that again. I think Jane Campion came pretty close with The Piano. The Heiress was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning four: Best B&W Art Direction-Set Decoration (won), Best B&W Costume Design (won), Best Score (won), Best B&W Cinematography, Best Supporting Actor Ralph Richardson, Best Actress Olivia de Havilland (won), Best Director William Wyler and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Battleground, A Letter to Three Wives, Twelve O’Clock High and winner All The King’s Men.