Caught this one while flipping chanels and I couldn’t stop watching it. It reminded me of Rebecca, in that it was a dark black-and-white romantic melodrama with hints that something creepy and occult going on. The heroine Miranda (Gene Tierney) is stunningly beautiful. I did not recognize the chisel-faced Nicholas Van Ryn at all, but IMDB told me he was Vincent Price. He was incredible.

Dragonwyck, in which no dragon appears, is the name of the Van Ryn ancestral home. But suprise! The regency romance is actually set in America. New York started out as New Amsterdam, remember? and the Van Ryn empire is a full-on castle with Peasants and Nicholas is the Dutch nobleman, called ‘Patroon’.

That woud be totally weird, except that the movie takes it head on, with the American farmers revolting against their fuedal situation. Slavery in the south is well-known, but I didn’t know that New York had this going on as recently as 1840.

I expected this movie melodrama to be a straight up romantic drama, but the political story was really intriguing. The status awareness of Nicholas Van Ryn creates the structure and motivations for the characters.

It has a lot of unexpected twists and tons of suspense. It has all the wonderful guilty pleasure of an overblown romance, but surprised me by keeping a pretty realistic hold on human behavior. I think I may have to get this movie.

Too bad for me, Amazon doesn’t have it. They have the book, which I think I’ll read. I’ll let you know how that is