A woman secretly suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an effort to cure her condition. Soon afterwards, she is found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there and seemingly no way to prove her innocence.
Ellen McNulty loses her hamburger joint and goes to see her son, who marries a socialite at the same time. Due to her modest background and a case of mistaken identity, Ellen poses as the newlyweds' cook.
An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married.
In 1844, the Wells family lives in a small farm of their own in Greenwich, Connecticut and the sons and daughters have a rigid discipline and religious education from the patriarch Ephraim Wells. When his wife Abigail Wells receives a letter from her wealthy distant cousin Nicholas "Nick" Van Ryn inviting one of her daughters to live with his wife Johanna Van Ryn and him nursing their daughter Katrine Van Ryn, the naive Miranda Wells gets excited with the perspective of traveling. Her mother convinces Ephraim to let her go and Miranda travels with her father to New York. They meet Nick and they learn that he is a patroon of farmers at the Hudson Valley. Then Miranda travels to the Dragonwyck mansion where she is introduced to the voracious Johanna and the sweet Katrine and to the housekeeper Magda. Miranda also meets Dr. Jeff Turner, who is a sort of leader of the farmers that work for Nicholas, in a party and befriends him. Soon she notes that Katrine is neglected by her parents. ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The family name Schermerhorn, which is the subject of gossip at the ball at Dragonwyck is actually the name of writer Mankiewicz's ex-in-laws. See more »
As Miranda and Van Ryn dance through the doorway from the balcony into the ballroom, she holds her closed fan in her hand. When the shot changes after they enter the room, the fan dangles from her wrist. See more »
Nicholas - you do believe in God?
Nicholas Van Ryn:
I believe in myself, and I am answerable to myself! I will not live according to printed mottoes like the directions on a medicine bottle!
See more »
As a fan of both Gene Tierney and Vincent Price, I eagerly sought this film for years before happening upon a broadcast. Since it, most unfortunately, still isn't available on video, I was forced to depend upon network whims. Since I'm also a fervent fan of gothic books and films, I was all the more anxious to see two of my favorite stars in one of my favorite formulae. I'd like to say the film completely fulfilled my hopes. Not quite, perhaps, but it's still a lot of fun, especially for those who follow the stars. (One friend said she thought this was the only Vincent Price film not available on video.)
If you enjoyed _My Cousin Rachel_ (another tragically elusive film!) or the Orson Welles _Jane Eyre_, you'll probably have a good time with _Dragonwyck_. The classic elements are there: lovely, innocent heroine (Tierney); brooding, mysterious, wealthy man (Price); luxurious yet sinister mansion; ghostly and/or murderous plot twists. One plot twist will probably come as absolutely no surprise, given the relentless typecasting of Price (has he ever been a good guy, except in _House of the Seven Gables_? --another great gothic, by the way). Nevertheless his character has touches of subtlety and surprising developments. Tierney's character is perhaps less subtly shaded but does develop nicely over the course of the movie. Jessica Tandy is quite fun in an energetic supporting role, and Tierney's stern, craggy father is another strong supporting character.
Few have probably read the novel that inspired the film, but after seeing the film I sought out the source and I have to say the film tightens up the story considerably. Certainly it makes changes, but overall the film is more satisfying in many ways. It may not be quite in the company of such classics as _Rebecca_ and _Jane Eyre_, but it's nonetheless a lot of fun.
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