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William WylerThe Life and Films of Hollywood's Most Celebrated Director$
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Gabriel Miller

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813142098

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813142098.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The American Scene I

The American Scene I

The Heiress (1949)

Chapter:
(p.261) 12 The American Scene I
Source:
William Wyler
Author(s):

Gabriel Miller

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813142098.003.0013

This chapter opens with a history of Wyler's involvement with Liberty Films, co-founded by his friend Frank Capra, its eventual dissolution, and his signing a five-picture deal with Paramount. The main focus of the chapter is on Wyler's first film for Paramount, The Heiress, based on a play by Ruth and Augustus Goetz that was in turn based on Henry James's novel Washington Square. The chapter details the changes the Goetzes made, with help from Wyler, in transferring their play to the screen. Casting decisions are also detailed, notably Wyler's decision to cast Montgomery Clift as Morris Townsend, thereby making that character more likeable and his motives more complicated. The chapter also recounts Clift's off-screen problems with co-star Olivia de Havilland, and it includes an analysis of Wyler's visual strategies.

Keywords:   Liberty Films, Frank Capra, Paramount Pictures, Ruth and Augustus Goetz, The Heiress, Washington Square, Montgomery Clift, Olivia de Havilland

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