A Place in the Sun

A Place in the Sun is from 1951 and was based on the novel, An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, it stars Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift and Shelley Winters.

The film was nominated for 9 Oscars, and won 6, including Montgomery Clift and Shelley Winters for their lead roles and George Stevens for directing. Stevens also directed Shane, Giant and The Diary of Anne Frank.

Elizabeth Taylor's and Montgomery Clift's beach scene was actually filmed in October at Lake Tahoe, California, and crew members had to hose the snow off the ground before the scene could be shot.

And in the scene where Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor are zooming around the lake in a speedboat, the director wanted the engine to sound more ominous. So recordings of German Stuka dive bombers were used instead of boat engines.

Elizabeth Taylor's much publicized personal life included eight marriages, several life-threatening illnesses, and decades spent as an outspoken advocate for AIDS awareness & research. But she struggled with health problems for much of her life.

She was hospitalized more than 70 times and had at least 20 major operations.
She broke her back five times, had both hips replaced, had a hysterectomy, suffered from dysentery and phlebitis & a punctured esophagus. She survived a benign brain tumor, skin cancer, 2 life-threatening bouts of pneumonia, and in 1983 admitted to having been addicted to sleeping pills and painkillers for 35 years.

Taylor was the first actress to earn $1,000,000 for a movie role, for Cleopatra in 1963.

Montgomery “Monty” Clift, playing George Eastman, appeared on Broadway at the age of 13 and stayed in the New York theater for over ten years before finally going to Hollywood.

While working in New York in the early 1940s, he met wealthy former Broadway star, Libby Holman, who developed a decade-long obsession with Clift, even financing a play for him. Already conflicted about his sexuality, it was probably his last heterosexual relationship.

By the early 1950's, he was exclusively homosexual, although he maintained close friendships with a number of women, which was heavily promoted by studio publicists, to dispel any rumors about his sexuality.

Clift was supposed to appear in Sunset Boulevard, which was written specifically for him, but he dropped out at the last minute because he thought the character was too close to his real life. Like the character in Sunset Boulevard, he was good looking, and was seeing a much older, richer woman - the obsessive Libby Holman.

After the movie came out, he was Hollywood's hottest male star, but mental problems prevented him from staying at the top, as his drinking and drug problem began to affect his acting and his bankability.

He was an alcoholic, addicted to prescription and non-prescription drugs and was emotionally troubled throughout his short life. Clift always carried a thermos jug with him on the set, in it was a combination of vodka and chloral hydrate, a depressant and sedative.

In 1956, during filming of Raintree County, co-starring again with Elizabeth Taylor, he ran his car into a tree after leaving a party at Taylor's house. Taylor saved him from choking and Rock Hudson, Kevin McCarthy and others formed a protective shield to prevent his photo from being taken as he was carried to the ambulance.

He suffered a broken jaw and nose, a fractured sinus, and severe facial lacerations which required plastic surgery. His smashed face was rebuilt but his dependence on drugs and emotional problems got worse.

By the time Clift was making John Huston's Freud: The Secret Passion in 1962, his destructive lifestyle was affecting his health so much that Universal sued him for his frequent absences that caused the film to go over budget - the case was later settled out of court.

Clift received four Academy Award nominations during his career, three for Best Actor and one for Best Supporting Actor. Clift is one of only six actors to receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his first screen appearance. (The other five were Orson Welles, Lawrence Tibbett, Alan Arkin, Paul Muni and James Dean.)

Clift died in 1966, at the age of 45. But in Hollywood, those who knew him called his death the longest suicide in history.

Shelley Winters was born Shirley Schrift and toiled in bit roles for years. She attended Charles Laughton's Shakespeare classes and worked at the Actors Studio. In the late 1940s, she shared an apartment with another newcomer, Marilyn Monroe.

Winters originally broke into Hollywood as "the Blonde Bombshell" but her breakthrough didn’t happen until 1947, and it happened on both the stage and big screen.

She won a role in Oklahoma! on Broadway and also got excellent notices on film in the critically-hailed A Double Life, directed by George Cukor. Here role in this film put her in the limelight as a serious actress, not just another starlet. After that she found a somewhat earthy film stardom playing second-lead women who often met untimely ends.

With advancing age and increasing size, Shelley found a comfortable niche in the harping Jewish wife/mother category with loud, flashy, roles. She earned another Oscar nomination for The Poseidon Adventure while portraying her third drowning victim.

A two-time Academy Award winner, Winters is probably most remembered for her roles in A Place in the Sun, Lolita, Night of the Hunter, Alfie, and The Poseidon Adventure.

She also enjoyed Emmy-winning TV work and had the recurring role of Roseanne's tell-it-like-it-is grandmother on Roseanne’s sitcom. In the 1970s and 1980s, Shelley developed into an oddball TV personality, making countless talk show appearances and becoming an incessant name dropper with her juicy Hollywood behind-the-scenes tales.

She published two scandalous tell-all autobiographies that detailed her affairs with famous movie stars like Errol Flynn, Burt Lancaster, Marlon Brando, William Holden, Sean Connery and Clark Gable, to name a few.

Her last years were marred by failing health and, for the most part, she was confined to a wheelchair. She had a heart attack in October of 2005 and died in January, 2006.

Although this film was released in 1951, it was actually shot in 1949, but Paramount had already released its blockbuster Sunset Boulevard in 1950 when this film wrapped.

The studio didn’t want another blockbuster competing with Sunset Boulevard for Oscars, so it waited until 1951 to release this film.