The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir  |  24 July 1946 (USA)
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A ruthless, domineering woman is married to an alcoholic D.A., her childhood companion who is the only living witness to her murder of her rich aunt seventeen years earlier.



(screenplay), (story) (as Jack Patrick) , 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Roman Bohnen ...
Janis Wilson ...
Young Martha
Frank Orth ...
James Flavin ...
Mickey Kuhn ...
Young Walter
Charles D. Brown ...


In 1928, young heiress Martha Ivers fails to run off with friend Sam Masterson, and is involved in fatal events. Years later, Sam returns to find Martha the power behind Iverstown and married to "good boy" Walter O'Neil, now district attorney. At first, Sam is more interested in displaced blonde Toni Marachek than in his boyhood friends; but they draw him into a convoluted web of plotting and cross-purposes. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fate drew them together... and only murder could part them!


Drama | Film-Noir


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 July 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Love Lies Bleeding  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The car that Sam Masterson (Van Heflin) drives into Iverstown at the beginning of the film is a 1942 DeSoto Custom Convertible. See more »


During the scene when Martha and Sam are standing by the campfire, the amount of smoke varies drastically from angle to angle. See more »


Toni Marachek: I missed a bus once and I was lucky. I wanted to see if I could be lucky twice.
See more »


Featured in Paramount Presents (1974) See more »


Strange Love
Music by Miklós Rózsa (as Miklos Rozsa)
Lyrics by Edward Heyman (as Eddie Heyman)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

You can't go home again
10 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Due to a car accident, Van Heflin has to return to his home town in "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers," and walks into a world full of blackmail and murder. 18 years earlier, he ran away from home the night his friend Martha's aunt was murdered while Martha, her friend Walter, and Walter's father were in the Ivers house. Now he returns to find Walter (Kirk Douglas) is the drunken district attorney and married to Martha (Barbara Stanwyck), the richest woman in town - Iverstown is, after all, named after her family. Though Martha has never fallen out of love with Heflin, her husband thinks he's there to blackmail them because, though a man was hung for killing her aunt, it was Martha who did so while her aunt (Judith Anderson) was beating Martha's cat. In my opinion, she deserved to die. D.A. Douglas uses a troubled woman Heflin has met, played by sultry Lizabeth Scott, to attempt to drive Heflin out of town. But it doesn't work.

A top-notch cast carries this intriguing story along. Heflin was evidently considered a matinée idol in his day - in both this and Possessed, women swoon over him. My mother loved him, so he must have had something. He was a good actor, with a smoothness and an engaging smile. And he plays the part with a certain ambiguousness - up to a certain point, you're not sure if he knows Stanwyck's guilty secret or not. Stanwyck, beautiful and elegant as the troubled Martha, does a great job playing a twisted sister if there ever was one (though I still don't blame her for killing that miserable Judith Anderson). Douglas, in an early performance, holds his own well as the pathetic, wimpy Walter. Lizabeth Scott is lovely, sad, and vulnerable as Toni, the woman Heflin meets while in town.

Very good mid-'40s film.

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