Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Laurence Olivier, Jennifer Jones, Miriam Hopkins, Eddie Albert, Basil Ruysdael
Director: William Wyler
Carrie's dreams of adventure in the big city are quickly squashed as she discovers all that awaits her there is a bleak life of grueling and poorly-paid factory work. That is, until a traveling salesman named Drouet steps ... more »
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Excellent adaptation of the Dreiser classic
W. Oliver | Alabama | 01/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, be warned - this is a downer and not a film to be recommended to anyone who is suffering from depression or low self esteem.
Theodore Dreiser's novel, "Sister Carrie," first published in 1900, had its share of controversy and initial sales were poor. Today it is viewed as a major American classic. Dreiser's characters are victims of chance and circumstance and their motivations are fueled by their desires without serious thought to the consequences of their actions. Readers were especially shocked that the heroine's "sinful" ways would be rewarded in the end.
"Carrie" was filmed in 1950 but it sat on the shelf for two years before being released in 1952. The studio felt that the political climate at the time wasn't right for the film. In fact, this dvd version contains a scene that wasn't included in the American release but was in prints for the foreign markets. A note at the beginning of the film alludes to the politics of the time but really it just raises more questions than answers. This is a film begging for a commentary but unfortunately there isn't one.
With no extras provided, we only have the film to enjoy but what an excellent film this is. The technical aspects are top notch with William Wyler's skillful direction making this one of his best films, Victor Milner's sharp and unsentimental black and white photography and David Raskin's lovely score. But what really shines are the actors. Jennifer Jones, certainly one of the most beautiful actresses to ever work in Hollywood, is perfect as Carrie - naive and innocent in the beginning but learning the ways of the world too late, Eddie Albert as the charming but oily Drouet and Miriam Hopkins as the icy and shrewd Julia Hurstwood. The stand out performance, however, has to be Laurence Olivier, as George Hurstwood, the man whose obsession for Carrie eventually leads to his downfall. This is arguably his best screen performance but one that is often overlooked.
"Carrie" is a mature and sensitive film and one that makes a stark contrast to Hollywood's usual romantised fare. It is an unfogettable film but certainly not for everyone."
Candace Scott | Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA | 07/16/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I notice many of the other reviewers lamenting that this film adaptation of Dreiser's novel is not as good as the book itself. Of course it isn't, but that doesn't mean there isn't considerable merit in this film. Naturally there are considerable differences between the book and the movie, but that is inevitable in any screen translation. The performances are uniformly good. Jennifer Jones was hardly considered an outstanding actress, but she's well cast here in the role of a passive, timid and one-dimensional Carrie. The ambitious side of Carrie in the novel is muted a bit for the screen. Olivier is exceptional in the lead character and his disintegration from rich restaurant manager to skid row bum is masterful. Perhaps the most overlooked performance is that of Eddie Albert, cast as Carrie's first lover. Albert is exceptional and most resembles the original character in Dreiser's book.The ending will have you reaching for your handkerchief's, so be forewarned. For anyone who has not read Dreiser's novel, you will be prompted to lay hands on the book as soon as this film is concluded. Recommended viewing."
Outstanding version of a literary classic
David J. Kucharski | Washington, DC USA | 06/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Laurence Olivier and Jennifer Jones (not to mention Eddie Albert) give brilliant performances in director William Wyler's film version of Theodore Dreiser's "Sister Carrie" (the title of the film was shortened to "Carrie" so audiences wouldn't think they were going to see a movie about nuns!). A young, turn-of-the-century woman moves from a small Midwestern town to the big city of Chicago. There, she becomes entangled with two men: a slick and irresponsible traveling salesmen and a discontented (and married) restauranteur. Her involvement with the latter leads them both into tragedy.Jones has been criticized over the years for her "passive" performance in the title role. But passivity is exactly Carrie's tragedy: she is too weak-willed and aimless to take control of her life, until it's too late. And Jones makes Carrie into a vivid--and bewitchingly beautiful--character. Olivier never had much to say "on the record" about his performance here, but it surely ranks among his greatest film work. The slow yet inexorable fall of his character, George Hurstwood, is among the most painful studies of failure on film.Wyler's direction is tightly controlled with a briliant eye for the telling detail (although the second half of the film has a somewhat jumpy continuity, perhaps due to pre-release editing). And David Raksin's musical score is haunting; listen to his sad and beautiful waltz theme when Carrie first enters Hurstwood's restaurant.Carrie initially sat on the shelf for two years after filming was completed; it was feared that the film's implicit criticism of capitalistic values would brand it as Communistic. These fears were unfounded, but the film has never received the attention it deserves. See for yourself one of Hollywood's all-time-best literary adaptations: Carrie."
Olivier & Jones at their best
J. Kara Russell | Hollywood - the cinderblock Industrial cubicle | 01/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*** A bit of a spoiler, the package makes this look like a glossy romance, and it is much deeper and darker.***
This movie really should have been called "George,"as it is the story of a man (Laurence Oliver) who ruins his life for love. Olivier is essentially different here, a humble man who suffers silently, simply wonderful, and shows here in his youth moments of the great acting of his last years (important, because he was aged up for this role). It is a simply brilliant film for him.
Jennifer Jones, playing Carrie, also gives one of her best performances, and their chemistry is fantastic. She was in her 30s and still looks 18, which helps a film where she ages from about 18 to 36.
I did not know anything of this "girl comes to the big city, gets compromised, and rises above" story. It is far more than this trite outline. This wonderful script dips and turns with the complexities of life relationships, legal relationships, and the things we don't tell each other.
Miriam Hopkins, even in her perky youth, was always rather arch and tart. This is used to fantastic advantage here in a very dislikable role. Eddie Albert is also used to best advantage as a flirty traveling salesman and lady killer.
In black and white, the story is about the divisions of poverty and wealth, and how life can take us through levels. Edith Head's magnificent costuming takes the leads from highs to lows, tenements to townhouses to the glamour of the stage in the early 1900s.
The score is by David Raksin, who did such memorable scores as WHIRLPOOL, THE BIG COMBO, FALLEN ANGEL, and PAT AND MIKE. While heavy handed by today's standards, it is musically complex and eloquent, and truly augments the emotional journey of the action. It is some of the best of it's time, evocative of the dissonant soundtracks of ON THE WATERFRONT, and REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE.
The realeased film had a section removed set in poverty row/homeless men's housing. This section has been restored on the DVD, which reinstates yet another level of complexity, the mixture of poverty, humiliation and pride.
All this makes this film wrenching, memorable and complete. Do not miss this one, it is highly regarded for all the right reasons.