Quick recap: George Eastman takes up his uncle’s offer of working at his company only to end up knocking a girl up, falling in love with a socialite and getting the electric chair.
Fun (?) fact: Shelley Winters ( who played Alice) drove white Cadillacs for years after filming to compensate for feeling inferior to Elizabeth Taylor.
Thoughts and observations:
As a rule, I typically stay away from melodramas, but this one hooked me the moment Montgomery Clift appeared on screen.
From there, the plot was a wild ride from start to finish. I don’t remember ever being in a situation where I wanted both the best for every character and the worst. Even Alice, the poor factory girl whom George (Montgomery Clift) knocks up. She was absolutely a victim in every way but seeing her whine and pout when she was about to be shoved overboard was just too much to put up with from a character.
Even as I write this review, I’m still blown away by how much of a predator George Eastman was, yet I kept hoping things would turn around for him. On his first day at the factory, he was told that the most important rule was not to fraternize with the workers and he literally did just that moments later. And then while walking Alice home from the movies, his hands are all over her even though they had barely spoken before. I hated how pushy he was and knew their relationship would end badly. And I liked him even less when he started dating Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor) because he seemed so desperate to appear well off. And yet- as he professed his love for Angela, I couldn’t help but melt. I too was annoyed that Alice was around and found myself siding with George. I didn’t think he would murder her but I wanted him to live his life with his true love.
The end of the movie was just as much of a whirlwind and I still can’t decide how I feel about all of it. George was brought to justice as he should’ve been, but once again I found myself siding with him that he didn’t murder Alice. Even as the priest got him to confess that his inaction caused her death, I still wanted a different ending and wanted there to be some twist where everyone lives happily ever after. This movie was both frustrating and absolutely the most entertained I’ve felt in a long time.
Watchability score: 5/5
Up next: Europa Europa