The Heiress and the Human Target

Sunday, while busily working on my novella—I have to finish up one final scene today—I took a short break and started channel surfing.

I stopped at Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and saw that they were about to show William Wyler’s 1949 film, The Heiress, starring Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson and Miriam Hopkins.

The Heiress is one of those movies that I will literally stop whatever I’m doing (in this case drafting a scene for my novella) and watch it. It’s that good. I first saw it years ago, on TCM, and happen to come into the movie about 1/3 into it. But I was hooked. And I watch it every time it’s on TCM. (I should buy it and intend to one day).

The Heiress is based on a 1947 play, which was based on the 1880 novel Washington Square by Henry James.

De Havilland plays Catherine Sloper, the only daughter of a wealthy doctor. She is plain, shy and clearly lacking (as her father never fails to remind her) of the grace and beauty her deceased mother and the doctor’s wife lacked.

A very young Montgomery Clift plays Morris Townsened, a handsome, charming but poor man who woos Catherine, much to the annoyance of Catherine’s father, who sees Morris as nothing but a fortune hunter.

What’s great about Montgomery Clift’s performance is, yes, it’s obvious that he’s after Catherine’s money but you sometimes feel that he actually does care for her.

Ralph Richardson is excellent as Catherine’s father, the emotionally distant Dr. Sloper.

It’s one of those movies where there isn’t a misstep, IMHO. Not in the casting, the acting, the directing, the plot, or the writing.

After the movie was over, I went back to writing.

Then, once I had written as much as I could for the day, I decided to watch the premier episode of a new show on Fox called The Human Target. To be honest, I usually avoid shows like this like the plague. Don’t ask me why, I just do. 🙂

But something intrigued me about this show and I watched it and I have to say I liked it.

Mark Valley plays Christopher Chase, a professional bodyguard and security expert, who insinuates himself into his client’s lives in order to become the human target, that is, he’s the one who sets himself up to take the bullet.

His cronies include Winston (Chi McBride), his business partner, who keeps wondering why Chase continues to endanger himself the way he does, and Guerrero, played by Jackie Earle Haley, of Watchmen and Bad News Bears fame, whose character I’m assuming was once a criminal but works with Chase.

The show is based on a comic book character called The Human Target, which first appeared back in 1972.

Nothing ground-breaking, I have to say, but I thought the episode moved well, Chase has a kind of devil-may-care but hidden dark side to him quirkiness, he looks good in a suit and the character of Guerrero intrigues me. It starts its regular programming on Wednesday so I’ll continue to check it out.

I’ve been watching Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries on the CW and they start their new episodes this week.

As for writing, I finished that short story I was working on last week and submitted it just in time for the submission deadline this past Friday.

Today I have to finish the final scene of my novella so that I can spend the next two weeks revising it as I have to submit it on February 1st in order to make the deadline.

And that’s all for now. 🙂

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2 Responses to The Heiress and the Human Target

  1. Olivia was such a great actress. Have you seen, “The Snake Pit”?

    Interestingly though, I didn’t like her in her most famous role as Melanie.

  2. Jenna Reynolds says:

    Yep, I did see her in The Snake Pit and that was another awesome performance. I didn’t mind her so much as Melanie, although the first time I saw Gone with the Wind I did find the character of Melanie a bit annoying but later I came to appreciate how hard it must have been for Olivia to play that part and be constantly overshadowed by Vivian Leigh as Scarlett and Clark Cable. Near the end of the movie, however, there were a couple of scenes where Olivia’s true strength as an actress came through.

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