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At her engagement party, Joan Ellis, your typical girl next door, acknowledges that the strange voice that she's heard all her life is coming from within herself. Joan's alter ego, a conniving and murderous woman named Karen, is becoming stronger and stronger and is threatening to take over her life. Joan negotiates with Karen. Although they do come to an agreement, Karen reneges on that agreement when the situation suits her. Karen ultimately wants the men in Joan's life, first her fiancé, Bob Arnold, then Eric Russell, a lawyer Joan meets in New York City. Joan does whatever she needs to to get rid of Karen, even if it a threat to her own life. Without knowing for certain what is wrong with Joan, those close to her, including Eric and Dr. Bergson, do whatever they can to save her. Written by
This film made its initial USA telecast in Los Angeles Monday 10 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Saturday 16 February 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); its San Francisco television premiere took place 18 March 1959 on KGO (Channel 7) and its earliest documented telecast in New York City took place 8 August 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »
[left alone in the shadows, Joan hears her alter ego's voice]
Joan... Joan... I've been fighting with you all your life... Listen, you, I've waited a long time for this. You've gotta let me live!... I won't go back in the dark. I'll live! I'll live!
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Joan Alris Ellis (Phyllis Thaxter) is your typical young woman. She's happy, healthy and looking forward to her upcoming marriage but then she begins to hear voices. Soon these voices are taking over her life so she runs away from her fiancé and family hoping to find some peace but soon she murders a man. Was it her or the voices?
BEWITCHED is a pretty interesting film that has a lot of creative moments and it's certainly a film that's ahead of its time. It certainly fits in quite well with the film noir from this era but there are plenty of horror elements and you could really argue that it touched on some similar subjects that Alfred Hitchcock would do fifteen years later in PSYCHO. Sadly, not all of the elements come together as well as they should but there's no question that the film is worth watching.
The best thing working for the film is Arch Oboler's direction because he keeps the film moving at a rather nice pace and he also handles the various elements quite nicely. I thought the psychological aspect of the film was the highlight because there are several scenes where the lead character battles with herself and these are extremely effective. I also thought the noir aspect with the cinematography was good. I think the film loses some of its power during the finale, which I won't spoil but it was a tad bit too sappy for me.
Thaxter is good in the lead and performs both characters very well. Edmund Gwenn, Henry H. Daniels, Jr. and Addison Richards are also good in their parts. BEWITCHED was certainly ahead of its time and deserves a lot of credit for the subject matter.
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