Truly a great movie, not only technically but artistically. It concerns the low-class boy George Eastman who falls in love with upper-class beauty Angela Vickers. However, George has gotten pre-Angela working-class girlfriend Alice Tripp pregnant. Since the Eastmans are a high-class family in the region George is now working, Alice threatens to tell all if he doesn't marry her. Gradually, the idea of murdering Alice grows in George's mind, and he takes her out on a boat to drown her (she cannot swim). He decides, however, that he cannot go through with it, but, Alice stands up and walks toward George, and the boat tips over and she drowns.
George basically acts the way a murderer would act...he doesn't report the crime, he lies about where he was, etc. Alice's body is found, foul play is suspected, George is arrested and tried, and George is found guilty. As he is about to be sent to the electric chair, the film reaches an emotional resolution. A priest tells George that there is one way for him to really judge whether he is guilty or not. During the one moment when he could have saved Alice, did he think of Alice or Angela? It is understood that Angela was the one on his mind. So, he approaches his death resigned to fate and aware that he is a murderer, if not technically, but essentially.
The only thing that keeps this movie from being truly enjoyable is Montgomery Clift. I like Monty Clift a lot, but all the bad things that happen to his character make this a depressing fare. George Eastman is also a total idiot. Honestly, I like melodramatic, tragic movies but this is just too downbeat. It might could get away with being sad if it was fast-paced and exciting, but instead you are introduced to characters you like and watch them end up dead and unhappy. It's a good film, but not very watchable.
Anyway, Elizabeth Taylor looks great in this movie. Probably the best she's ever looked. However, I feel sorry for anyone whose beauty peaks at seventeen.