Seton set a Gothic melodrama, obviously inspired by 'Jane Eyre' and 'Rebecca', within a historically accurate account of the Anti-Rent Wars that took place in upstate New York during the 1800s. The result is a mess. The historical information is boring (it reads like something copied from an encyclopedia) and the melodrama is equally boring (it reads like something copied from a 'Cliff's Notes' version of 'Jane Eyre'or 'Rebecca').
But there are some good things in the novel, just as there are some good things in the movie. Unfortunately they are not the same things.
The best thing in Seton's novel is its Byronic antihero, Nicholas Van Ryn. Nicholas is a blond and handsome Greek god, and Miranda, the heroine, naturally falls in love with him the moment she sees him. Unfortunately her hero is tied to a selfish and whining invalid wife.
As in 'Jane Eyre' and 'Rebecca', the death of the wife frees the hero and heroine to marry. But unlike 'Jane Eyre' and 'Rebecca', Dragonwyck's hero is also its villain.
When Miranda discovers that Nicholas murdered his first wife, she runs away. Nicholas pursues her, presumably to prevent her from revealing his secret by killing her, just as he killed his first wife. But when their steamboat catches fire, Nicholas rescues Miranda, and dies while rescuing other passengers. He is a complex character, both villain and hero.
The movie cuts most of the historical background, and what little remains of it is confusing. But the worst change is the movie's Nicholas Van Ryn. As played by the saturnine Vincent Price, he is obviously a villain, and Gene Tierney's Miranda seems stupid for not recognizing him as a villain the moment she sees him.
There are some good things in the movie as well. The lush music and elaborate period decor are enjoyable, and Tierney does her best with a plot that gets more and more ridiculous the further it deviates from the novel (instead of dying bravely rescuing passengers from a burning steamboat, Price's Nicholas goes mad and is hunted down, like Frankenstein's monster, by irate villagers).
This movie is worth a look, but don't expect too much.
This movie is all about a farmgirl (Gene Tierney) who is unexpectedly contacted by a very, very distant relative (Vincent Price) who wants her to visit him in his mansion. The woman begins to fall for the wealthy aristocrat, but discovers that the mansion has a history and people's inner selves can be darker than they first appear. Frankly, this movie had a lot to work with, especially with such a great cast of Tierney and Price, but the story was a bit flat. It didn't end up being the gothic thriller that it built itself up to be, and instead covers issues like politics and personal demons and prejudism, which wasn't that exciting.
But none the less this movie does have it's moments, and though it was a bit slow the real attention getters were Tierney and Price who delivered fantastic preformances. The movie had a nice big ballroom set to work with among other sets and some pretty good costumes.
This movie wasn't what I expected, but it wasn't that bad either. It was an interesting character movie where you don't know exactly what people are thinking. The best part of this movie were the actors, so if your a Vincent Price fan like The Michael then you should check it out.
Miranda Wells is a country girl from Connecticut. One inauspicious day her family receives a letter telling them one of their relatives from New York City has passed away. They are invited to attend the funeral events where they meet a rich distant relative, Nicholas Van Ryn. Nicholas invites them to his estate, Dragonwyck, across the Hudson River. Miranda goes to the estate and discovers her relative is crazy. Can she escape the household before she becomes too engulfed in the life style of the rich and famous?
?Are you the tavern keeper??
?This is not a tavern and I am not a keeper, my good man.?
?And I?m not your good man!?
Joseph Mankiewicz, director of Escape, The Ghost of Mrs. Muir, No Way Out, Julius Caesar, Guys and Dolls, Cleopatra, and The Honey Pot (1967), delivers Dragonwyck. The storyline for this picture is solid and well delivered. The character development was wonderful and the acting was outstanding. The cast includes Vincent Price, Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, and Anne Revere.
?I will not run with the pack.?
Dragonwyck is a film I recently encountered while looking for Vincent Price movies. This is a classic Price picture where he plays a sinister villain that is both smart and conniving. This is an underrated film and RT should be ashamed of themselves that this is not in their movie database. I strongly recommend seeing this picture if you are a fan of Price pictures.
?Everything is what no man should ever want.?