(Review originally written at 23 January 2010)
Thing about this movie that really caught my interest while watching, was how the movie got edited together. There are some quite 'new' techniques used in this movie and it's stuff that you would normally expect so see in an early Akira Kurosawa movie.
But there is of course much more to this movie. You also have to give credit for the movie its directing, by George Stevens, that keeps the story flowing and going. And even though quite a lot is happening, the movie manages to tell the story in just over 2 hours, without ever feeling rushed at any points, or as if the movie skipped a few beats that were in the novel perhaps.
The movie obviously had some great source material to work with. It got based on a novel called "An American Tragedy", written by Theodore Dreiser and its later stage-play, by Patrick Kearney. It's a story about a far from perfect or successful man. When finally things start to go right for him and he gets a good job, thanks to being the nephew of a successful business man who owns a big factory, he makes the mistake for falling for two totally different girls. Ready to leave the one for the other he soon finds himself in a tight spot when the girl he no longer is in love with or wants to be with turns out to be pregnant by him. The story gets told in such a way that everything becomes highly convincing, in the way that this could basically happen to every average person in real-life as well.
There is plenty of well written drama in this movie, without ever becoming a melodramatic genre piece. Therefore this movie is more recommendable to just everyone, even when you just aren't too into older movies.
It was also great seeing so many great actors playing their parts in this movie. Montgomery Clift, who at first seems like just another pretty Hollywood face, is real convincing as this average person who gets himself into some real trouble and has to life a sort of a two lives, due to the circumstances. And no matter how weird and odd Elizabeth Taylor looks and seems these days, back in her prime she was simply stunning and also a real talented actress. I also really liked Raymond Burr in this one and it sort of made me wish that his role was longer and bigger.
A great done- and more 'modern' genre piece within its genre.