Carrie on DVD
Forget Brian DePalma or any other production based on Stephen
Kings breakthrough novel, this Carrie is a classic from the great William
Wyler, the man who crafted such films as Wuthering Heights,
Ben-Hur, Funny Girl,
How to Steal a Million, Mrs. Miniver and many more.
Carrie (Jennifer Jones) is a small town girl determined to make it
in the big city of Chicago. Alas, all she finds is menial factory work slaving
in the dark over a sewing machine and when she is injured due to the working
conditions shes dumped unceremoniously.
Thrown onto her own devices, she looks up a man named Charlie
Drouet (Eddie Albert), who had been kind to her earlier. He gets her to move in
with him (a scandalous thing in the pre-automobile era in which Carrie is set)
and she becomes a kept woman.
But she also meets George Hurstwood (Laurence Olivier), a classy
fellow who manages an equally classy restaurant. Hurstwood and Carrie fall for
each other and when Drouet finds out he reveals to her Hurstwoods dark
secret: hes married, with a family!
Carrie is out of the frying pan and into the fire. But while
were never really sure whether or not Drouet is a cad, Hurstwood
definitely isnt; he loves Carrie deeply, so much so that hes
willing to throw away his comfortable life and start over again with her. Of
course it doesnt hurt that his wife (Miriam Hopkins) is an evil
Alas, through accidental circumstances and desperation, George
makes off with a wad of cash from the restaurant at which he was employed and
this leaves him a marked man with no future.
So the tale unfolds of Carries and Georges life
together and, eventually, apart. George begins a long, long and painful slide
into irrelevance but because he loves Carrie he puts up with it and continues
his best efforts to turn things around. Hed rather be with her and a
pauper than anything else, which says quite a bit for the mans
Carrie wants more, however, and she takes the bull by the horns.
Pursuing a career in the theater, she works her way up from chorus girl to
featured performer and as her fortunes rise she and George grow more apart.
Eventually they separate, Carrie never really knowing what was behind
Georges fall and much later, when she does discover the truth (thanks
again to Mr. Drouet), she vows to find him and make things right.
We wont tell you how it works out.
This is an extremely powerful film, with a performance from
Olivier that shows clearly why he was considered by many to be the greatest
actor of his time. He has grace and class and character, and during his long
fall our souls cry for him and his misfortune. Sure, George brought it on
himself, but he really isnt a bad guy. This is a tale of forbidden love
and what people will do for love.
A tragic romance
Jones is also very good in the title role, and holds her own
opposite the great Olivier. Albert and Hopkins, as the love struck traveling
salesman and the incredible shrew, are also very good.
This movie was quite controversial on its release, though today no
one would think twice about people shacking up. And this DVD brings us a
restored scene that was apparently excised from the original release because it
was too much. That scene is of George at the depths of his despair and it
should never have been cut, but at least its back now.
The DVD is fine. Presented in its original form, the picture is
full frame and black and white, so it isnt 16x9 TV compatible unless you
zoom and/or stretch it to fill the rectangular screen. Picture quality is good,
though, will an image thats nice and sharp.
Audio is Dolby Digital mono and, typically, is unremarkable
though the detail is good enough that you can hear everything quite well.
There are no extras other than the restored scene (which appears
in its proper place in the film).
Carrie, from Paramount Home Entertainment
121 min. full frame
(1.33:1, not 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital mono
Olivier, Jennifer Jones, Eddie Albert, Miriam Hopkins
Written by Ruth and
Augustus Goetz, produced and directed by William Wyler
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