On Montgomery Clift’s birthday, LIFE.com presents photographs — none of which ran in LIFE magazine — of Clift and his soul mate, Elizabeth Taylor, on the set of the 1951 classic, “A Place in the Sun.” See the photos here.
In its May 28, 1951 issue, meanwhile, LIFE magazine wrote of A Place in the Sun:
“It is easy for an ambitious young man to get himself involved simultaneously with a simple-hearted girl who lives in a cheap boarding house and an extravagant rich girl who gives gay parties. In 1925 Theodore Dreiser [told such a tale in his] long, oppressively powerful novel, An American Tragedy, which in turn made only a fair movie in 1931. This year the young man …. is the hero of a long, oppressively powerful movie called A Place in the Sun. Directed by George Stevens for Paramount, it gives three young actors [Shelley Winters brilliantly played the ‘poor girl’] the chance to give the most natural performances of their careers. Montgomery Clift as the confused, likable, rather stupid social climber; Shelley Winters as the dowdy working girl; Elizabeth Taylor as the dazzling rich girl. Until it sinks into a sentimental quagmire the end, the second movie excels first in being remarkably faithful to Dreiser’s tale of three pitiful youngsters and in telling the story with the same earnestness and breadth that have made the novel survive as a classic.”