In the years just preceding Waterloo, best friends Amelia Sedley (Frances Dee) and Becky Sharp (Miriam Hopkins) graduate from Miss Pinkerton's Academy for Girls. The wealthy Amelia invites the penniless Becky into the bosom of her family home while the manipulative Becky plots her climb up the social ladder. Entirely lacking in scruples and unhampered by conscience or morality, Becky ascends to the very pinnacle of society, crushing anyone who stands in her path.
Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, Rouben Mamoulian's adaptation of Thackeray's epic novel Vanity Fair was the first film to be produced in three strip Technicolor.
The first Technicolor feature is a loose adaptation of Thackeray's VANITY FAIR. Something of a gold-digger, little orphan Becky sets her cap for Joseph Sedley, the wealthy brother of her best friend Amelia. But even the dull-witted Joseph realizes that his family would not smile upon such a union and so never proposes. Frustrated, Becky leaves the Sedley household, and, using her brains, beauty and charm, claws her way into the upper class. Rather tough going, but worth seeing (particularly the recently restored version) a watershed movie moment. Academy Award Nominations: Best Actress--Miriam Hopkins.
This adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's novel "Vanity Fair" made cinema history as the first feature film shot in Technicolor. The story, which vibrantly details the manners and morals of 19th century English society, follows the rise and fall of one Becky Sharp. Though a poor orphan, Becky has grand dreams -- and hopes that a good marriage will assure her fortune. In particular, she has her eye on Joseph Sedley, the wealthy brother of her best friend Amelia. But even the dull-witted Joseph realizes that his family would not smile upon such a union and so never proposes. Frustrated, Becky leaves the Sedley household where she has resided, and using her brains, beauty and charm, proceeds to claw her way into the upper class. But a crucial miscalculation nearly costs her everything...
This is the first feature film shot in the three-strip Technicolor process.
Over the years, quality prints with the three-strip color disappeared, finally leaving only poor copies in black and white. Then, in 1984, the UCLA Film Archives restored a print, which included 66 minutes in its original, colorful glory; the rest of the film was in the less brilliant 2-strip Technicolor.
The film differs considerably from Thackeray's original novel, which was far more cynical about both Becky and the possibility of true romance.
Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and
unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC,
Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We
are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion
for films with a large audience.
Let us know what you have.