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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A powerhouse cast is assembled for "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers." It's a treat to watch this able quintet at work, making for an engrossing film experience.
Barbara Stanwyck is at her peak--sure, confident, and unfailing. Van Heflin's natural talent makes everything he does seem effortless. Kirk Douglas offers a most impressive film debut in what, in retrospect, is an uncharacteristic role. Lizabeth Scott (who seems to me a fascinating cross between Lauren Bacall and Rosemary Clooney) is constantly engaging. Long after her part has faded, Scott's image remains indelibly fixed in the memory. And finally, the great Judith Anderson is on in a strong character role.
Miklos Rozsa's compositional style is remarkable in its adaptablity. Close one's eyes, and the film could well be set a thousand years earlier--or any point in between. Which is to say, it's general, while at the same time, specific.
The writing team headed by Robert Rossen created a slick and saucy script, which holds interest throughout, and Hal B. Wallis was sharp enough to retain this productional team formula for many years. Were the film to have been given a perhaps more poetic--less Gothic--title, it might have enjoyed even greater stature in the annals of the genre.
As it is, "Ivers" is a worthy member of the noir film family.
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