This is the most spoilery thing ever. Okay? So for the three of you who are all: I WANT TO BE SURPRISED BY THIS PIECE OF TRASH MOVIE then please do not read about its preposterous plot and unsympathetic characters. Mea Culpa, Theodore Dreiser
So, there's this scandalous Edwardian novel called Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser which I read in University about a girl who moves to the big City and of course everything goes Sodom and Gomorrah for her and it is all about the CITY being immoral and a GIRL being able to survive only by sheer luck, a penchant for theatrics, and the help of men ( no matter whether or not she compromises her virtue). Anyways, there is also a MOVIE version starring Laurence Olivier and Jennifer Jones and the guy who plays the photographer in Roman Holiday whose name, I believe, is Eddie Albert.
holy crikey! THE MELODRAMA! the MELODRAMA! there was so much melodrama JUST in the music that I watched it in little pieces over the long weekend here.
What strikes me about this film ( and I suppose the source material; though it has been so long that I cannot accurately speak to it ) is how much I hate how STUPID everybody is.
Let's start with Carrie: the beautiful ingenue type who captures the immediate attention of a shop keeper when they meet on her train into Chicago. He is obviously a douchebag. She is not so dumb that she doesn't know he is a douchebag. When he gives her money ( because she almost slices her finger off at a sewing machine in a garment factory on her first day of employment) and begs her for dinner, she plans on showing up just to return the money. She knows, ladies and gents, that he is a douchebag.
But that never happens. And while she is at the restaurant about to give him the money she meets another douchebag. This one is George Hurstwood and he manages the restaurant and is married with a family and stuff.
He is the most idiotic character in the history of film ( slight hyperbole). Carrie is installed in a rather distasteful arrangement at the Shopkeeper's apartment and even given a puppy while Hurstwood pursues her when Shopkeeper (I think his name is Drouet ) is away. They go to a play and sit in a carriage and she is all "No! I am virtuous and not a kept woman" Until she is no longer virtuous and still a kept woman.
She finds out that Hurstwood has a wife and kids ( because it never came up before while they were courting ); but she cannot blame him because his WIFE IS NOT A NICE WIFE and his wife DEMANDS MORE THAN HE CAN GIVE and he just wants love.
He wants love so much that he basically takes an open envelope with 10 000 in it and tells Carrie he got a divorce and kidnaps her on a train to New York. He's all: While we're on this train my divorce will go through! And she is all: THIS IS SO ROMANTIC and they kiss. They get to New York and it turns out a private investigator has followed them. This sometimes happens when you take ten grand that doesn't belong to you. Carrie and George move to a tenement like apartment while George tries to work for a living. But he has trouble working for a living because no one wants to hire a thief and he is up in years and there is not a lot of work to be had.
Carrie becomes pregnant and she irons his shirts and stuff and makes his tea and sometimes he runs up a cigar on credit and it seems very How Green Was My Valley: all Triumph of the Poor.
But .... no! You see, Capital D-Bag George didn't actually get a divorce and his wife is back and there's talk of bigamy charges and CARRIE LOSES HER BABY and George is all: it's okay because we really couldn't afford it. So don't you worry. And Carrie is all: THIS IS A TERRIBLE LIFE
Meanwhile, in the society pages, they learn that George's son from his first marriage--- the marriage including the family George just dismissed in order to move away with Carrie-- is going to be in New York! Carrie presses George's best suit and says: HE CAN HELP YOU FINANCIALLY! go see him!
And while George is chickening out from approaching his son whom he abandoned, Carrie leaves knowing that she is a millstone around George's neck.... because PEOPLE, this entire film is a WEB OF MISCOMMUNICATION!
George comes back and is all: NOOO! NOT CARRIE~
And Carrie pursues a career on the stage and starts making money while George starves on the street and spends his evenings at a flophouse.
One destitute night, George waits for Carrie outside the stage door and begs for a quarter and CARRIE is all: LET US HAVE OUR HAPPY ENDING!!! I will get you food and launder your clothes and we can live together.
And George is like: Imma gonna wait til you go and do something and then I am going to take a quarter-- JUST a quarter from your change purse and ruminate on suicidal thoughts while I flick the gas burner you're making tea on. Cause you see, in the book, I kill myself with gas so here before I set once more into my useless and meaningless emotionally-stunted existence, I am going to tragically THINK about suicide.
But no one dies.