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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

A Place In the Sun (1951)



Reviews and Comments

George Stevens' remake of 1931's An American Tragedy is a celebrated classic exploration of a multitude of social and moral themes. Socially, it's about how easy it is for the smallest indiscretions to grow into big ones, and big indiscretions to grow into big troubles. It's about how a weak-minded individual can succumb at a crucial moment and have the rest of society turn its back on him.

Morally, it's about desire versus deed. If you have decided to do something evil, then change your mind before you do it, are you as guilty as if you had? If not, why? If so, where is the line drawn between deciding upon an evil action and entertaining the idea?

A Place In the Sun answers some of these questions, but does not force the issue, and it leaves the others to linger in the minds of viewers. I respect movies that make their audiences think, and this one did so to me. These thoughts are all wrapped up in a technically and creativity impressive package -- fine acting and cinematography, in particular -- although the music is a little overbearing at times.

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