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Friday, August 14, 2015

Dragonwyck (1946)

In mid 18th century Connecticut, a young farm girl (Gene Tierney) is summoned by her wealthy distant cousin (Vincent Price) to act as governess to his small daughter (Connie Marshall) in upstate New York. At first, she is thrilled but as time passes, the atmosphere turns dark and oppressive. Based on the novel by Anya Seton and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, this gothic romance has the superficial feel of a Bronte novel but it lacks any perceptive insight though its lack of a romantic hero is rather noteworthy. Price at first suggests the brooding romanticism of a Heathcliff or Rochester but it becomes clear early on that he will be a villain. It's still Price's movie all the way and though Tierney frets nicely, her character is too uncomplicated to be of much interest. The film's resolution is unmemorable. The art and set direction (Russell Spencer, Lyle Wheeler, Thomas Little) is superb and there's a wonderfully ominous score by Alfred Newman. With Walter Huston, Jessica Tandy, Anne Revere, Spring Byington, Harry Morgan, Vivienne Osborne and the innocuous Glenn Langan. 

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