Friday, January 29, 2010

Film Review - Dragonwyck

Film #11 of 2010 - Dragonwyck

Starring Gene Tierney and Vincent Price, Dragonwyck is a gothic melodrama about a young woman named Miranda Wells (Tierney) who lives with her family on a farm in Connecticut who is summoned to Dragonwyck, the estate on the Hudson River in New York where her distant cousin Nicholas Van Ryn (Price) lives in order for her to be a governess to his young daughter. Van Ryn, who is wealthy, embraces his power as a landowner and is generally a lunatic. Of course, he falls in love with Miranda, and therefore needs to do something about his current wife.

Honestly, there was nothing spectacular about this film, in fact, it was pretty average. I did like the mid-19th century gothic aspect of the film, and Price and Tierney always make a good team, but overall, the story was fairly weak and uninteresting, with characters that seemed to just disappear from the plot if they needed to. Dragonwyck was sufficiently creepy, especially when Price would go into his madman trances, but I think the most significant thing about the film was that it was the first film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who, 4 years later, would go on to write and direct one of my favorite films of all time, All About Eve.

In the words of my stepmom, a fellow classic film lover, who remarked when I asked her about Dragonwyck, "It's just okay, but it's a film you need to see once." I couldn't agree more.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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