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Blythe-a-Day #6 The Eyes Are the Windows of the Soul & #21 Abandoned: Gemma as Catherine Sloper in "The Heiress" | by The Real Blythequake
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Blythe-a-Day #6 The Eyes Are the Windows of the Soul & #21 Abandoned: Gemma as Catherine Sloper in "The Heiress"

Olivia de Havilland won a Best Actress Oscar for the 1949 film "The Heiress," an adaptation of Henry James's novel "Washington Square," which focuses on Catherine Sloper, a rich woman in 19th century New York who is being romanced by a relatively poor young man played by the then amazingly handsome Montgomery Clift. Catherine's father believes that Morris is only interested in her wealth. Morris proposes to her, leading to dramatic and mysterious consequences for both...


19th Century New York:


As Catherine Sloper waited for her beloved Morris to arrive to take her away for their elopement, she grew increasingly tense. Even before midnight, the appointed hour, her nerves were on edge, so excited was she to finally leave her father's house to wed Morris.

"I will prove to Father that Morris truly loves me and not my money. I will show him how wrong he has been to write me off as an off-puttingly plain girl condemned to be a spinster," she thought.


Yet, when midnight came, Morris did not arrive. Wringing her hands, Catherine counted each second that passed as the clock showed 12:00...12:15...12:30...1:00...1:30...


The truth struck Catherine with a deadening blow: Morris was not coming. At first, Catherine merely sat with her packed bag, too numb to think. Nevertheless, she was convinced that Morris had not been delayed by an emergency. After all, countless times, Father had conveyed to her that she so severely lacked the charm and beauty of her late mother that she was unworthy of any man's love. After that idea came fully into her consciousness, she then recalled telling Morris that she would give up her inheritance if her father opposed their marriage. "So he did only want my money?" She asked this of herself though she felt that she already knew the answer. Immediately, her breaking heart propelled her to cry out like a wounded animal:


"Morris! Morris! Morris! Morris!"


If the eyes are the windows of the soul, the stream of tears that poured down Catherine's face made evident the emotional violence to which she had been subjected: abandonment.


A night that began so full of promise had ended in disaster. Feeling completely rejected, Catherine resigned herself to the idea that she would never see Morris again...


But, unfortunately for one of them, someday, she would...




***The scene in the movie when Olivia de Havilland (who died recently at 100) cries out, "Morris! Morris!" is SO powerful...




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Taken on October 25, 2020