A few words about…™ The Heiress – in Blu-ray

Derived from a duplicate printing negative, the final result is just fine, and seems to mimic what a dupe print would have looked like in the 1950s. 4 Stars

William Wyler has always been one of my most revered filmmakers, and his 1949 The Heiress, for Paramount, is a magnificent part of his filmography.

Olivia De Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, and Miriam Hopkins (she’s been discussed quite a bit lately), are the leads, and the film demands to be seen.

The production credits aren’t bad.

Photographed by Leo Tover in beautiful black & white, edited by William Hornbeck, and with a score by someone named Aaron Copland, this is a magnificent Paramount production, licensed to Criterion via Universal.

Derived from a duplicate printing negative, the final result is just fine, and seems to mimic what a dupe print would have looked like in the 1950s.

Image – 4.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Without a Doubt

Highly Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

21 Comments

  1. Matt Hough

    In my opinion, one of the truly great films of the first half of the twentieth century. I can't wait to own this Blu-ray.

    Same here, but I'm going to be patient for a more affordable price. I want Snake Pit and Hold Back the Dawn too. All three titles are rather expensive, but I'm getting all three.

  2. Robert Crawford

    Same here, but I'm going to be patient for a more affordable price. I want Snake Pit and Hold Back the Dawn too. All three titles are rather expensive, but I'm getting all three.

    I too want all three, and hope for a release of To Each His Own in the near future. Maybe while Dame Olivia is still with us.

  3. 1949 was quite a strong year with "Battleground," "The Third Man," "A Letter to Three Wives," "Little Women," "Adam's Rib," "Border Incident," "Champion," "Edward, My Son," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "The Set-Up," "White Heat," and, of course, "The Heiress."

  4. battlebeast

    Where is the cheapest place to purchase this title? I've tried Deepdiscount, Amazon, Moviesunlimited and TCM… but with the exchange rate and shipping, it's over $50 ca…:/

    Check out Amazon UK, if you don't choose express shipping ($35 Ca to Europe, not sure what they'd charge to Canada):
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heiress-Cr…y&sprefix=the+heiress,aps,159&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

  5. Michel_Hafner

    Where is the camera negative?

    I believe Paramount destroyed the majority of its nitrate. AFAIK, they made two sets of safety masters, one dry, and a bit later, another wet, before destruction.

    Universal has only whatever Paramount delivered, or what survives in archives.

  6. I also believe Universal, along with the safety masters, received a 35mm print of the film. Sadly, at the time, I guess Universal wasn't aware of vinegar syndrome yet.
    Also, the pre 1949 Technicolor Paramounts, Universal were given the nitrate 3 strip originals. I guess this is why, on a properly restored remastered technicolor film can look so good on Blu ray.

    Supporting Actor indeed!

  7. This is one of those films that I use to teach acting. It’s unparalleled as an example of what actors should do to have characterization with inner life, while handling complex dialogue. Richardson with his mocking tones and contempt, Cliff playing it like a hero, Hopkins flitting about, yet comprehending the bald truths….

    Best of all: de Havilland. She never puts a foot wrong. Her Catherine is like a dog excited to get scraps and instead receiving blows, until finally learning how to bite.
    “I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters.”

    Day 1 purchase for me.

  8. Would anyone know if A Place In The Sun has a similar Paramount history with its negative etc?
    I am definitely adding this to my collection and so want APITS on Blu-Ray as it’s another well acted classic and by one of my favorite directors George Stevens.

  9. noel aguirre

    Would anyone know if A Place In The Sun has a similar Paramount history with its negative etc?
    I am definitely adding this to my collection and so want APITS on Blu-Ray as it’s another well acted classic and by one of my favorite directors George Stevens.

    It's overdue on Blu Ray, like "Roman Holiday". I wonder what these studios are waiting for concerning such best film Oscar nominees and classics. :unsure:

  10. What could be the reason these two great films have been passed over? Their Academy ratios in an era when most folks now have widescreen TVs? The fact they're in black and white? Their stars are no longer big enough draws to sell discs? I'm just very curious.

  11. Matt Hough

    What could be the reason these two great films have been passed over? Their Academy ratios in an era when most folks now have widescreen TVs? The fact they're in black and white? Their stars are no longer big enough draws to sell discs? I'm just very curious.

    Last year during a sale, I bought HD digital streams from iTunes for both titles and they look splendid on my OLED.

  12. Robert Harris

    William Wyler has always been one of my most revered filmmakers, and his 1949 The Heiress, for Paramount, is a magnificent part of his filmography.

    Olivia De Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson, and Miriam Hopkins (she's been discussed quite a bit lately), are the leads, and the film demands to be seen.

    The production credits aren't bad.

    Photographed by Leo Tover in beautiful black & white, edited by William Hornbeck, and with a score by someone named Aaron Copland, this is a magnificent Paramount production, licensed to Criterion via Universal.

    Derived from a duplicate printing negative, the final result is just fine, and seems to mimic what a dupe print would have looked like in the 1950s.

    Image – 4.75

    Audio – 5

    Pass / Fail – Pass

    Upgrade from DVD – Without a Doubt

    Highly Recommended

    RAH
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  13. No one has commented on Aaron Copland's superlative score thus far. So, here goes. Copland refused to accept the Oscar® he received at the 1950 Academy Awards because his score had been tampered with at the insistence of William Wyler, who replaced much of the Main Title music with a syrupy version of Paliser d'Amour arranged by Nathan Van Cleve. Hugo Friedhofer, who received an Oscar® for his score for Wyler's "The Best Years of Our Lives", attended the recording sessions, informing me how superb Copland's main title music was.

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