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Film Released: 1949
Genre: Drama, Romance
Film Directed by: William Wyler
Cast/Actors include : Olivia de Havilland, Ralph Richardson, Montgomery Clift
 

The film is set in New York in 1849 - affluent Washington Square to be more precise, where  Catherine Sloper (played by Olivia de Havilland) a shy, artless, plain-Jane if a girl, lives with her father, Dr Austin Sloper (played by Ralph Richardson).  

 

Catherine's mother died in childbirth but was by all accounts a refined beauty  - a fact which her father constantly reminds her of, often comparing her lack of beauty and social graces to that of  his dead wife's outstanding qualities. Catherine directly inherited her mother's wealth and with  Dr. Sloper  himself being well off, upon his death Catherine will be an extremely rich woman which, according to her father, should enable her to find a suitable husband despite her shortcomings as a woman.

 

So when Morris Townsend (played by Montgomery Clift),  a  handsome, well-bred but poor man  embarks on a mission to court Catherine, her father is convinced that he must be a gold-digger only interested in her money, and resolves to stop the courtship. Unfortunately,  he doesn't bargain for the fact that Catherine has been bewitched by Morris' ardent attentions and has fallen in love with  him,  convinced that he loves and admires her for what she is -  the sort of love she has been starved of from her father.

 

When her father confronts Morris with his suspicions, she defends Morris, stands up to her father for the first time in her life, and arranges to elope.  Dr. Sloper immediately threatens to cut off her inheritance but still convinced Morris loves her, she tells Morris  of her father's intentions and on the evening when they are supposed to run off together, Morris jilts her, leaving her waiting all night for him to come. This has a profound effect on Catherine whose heart has hardened towards her father on whom she used to dote. Even when he is dying, she doesn't recant.

 

Many years pass and Morris returns, saying that he'd only left because he didn't want to be the cause of Catherine being disinherited. Catherine agrees to elope with him again,  however when Morris arrives to take her away,  he finds the door bolted.

 

The food aspect appears almost at the beginning of the film when Catherine is buys some fish from a door-to-door fishmonger. Carrying the whopper of a fish into the house he says

 

"Look father, I bought a fine fish for the chowder you like"

 

By the looks of it, a 6lb Halibut seems to be the fish in question, so here's a recipe for a Halibut Chowder but you could use any white fish.

 

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Halibut Chowder  HT SP 50mins

Serves 4-6     Hot Fish Pork Vegetables Herbs  Soups   Gluten Wheat Free Eggless

Ingredients
4 Rashers Streaky Bacon, coarsely chopped
1 Onion, sliced
4 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Carrots, sliced
960ml/32fl.oz. Water
Salt and White Pepper
450g/1lb Halibut Fillets, cut into 2.5cm/1-inch chunks
240ml/8fl.oz. Cream
1 tbsp Freshly chopped Parsley

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Instructions

1. Heat a large saucepan until very hot, add the bacon and fry until crispy. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Set aside.

2. Reheat any bacon fat left in the pan, adding enough oil to make to 1 tablespoon if necessary. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring from time to time.

3. Add the potatoes, carrots, water, salt and pepper, bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the halibut, mix well and continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through.

5. Add the cream and heat through. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot garnished with the bacon and parsley.
 

 

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