IMDb > The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
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The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.5/10   4,630 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Robert Rossen (screenplay)
John Patrick (story)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Strange Love of Martha Ivers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 July 1946 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Fate drew them together... and only murder could part them!
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
"It's what people want, and how hard they want it, and how hard it is for them to get it." See more (73 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Barbara Stanwyck ... Martha Ivers

Van Heflin ... Sam Masterson

Lizabeth Scott ... Antonia 'Toni' Marachek

Kirk Douglas ... Walter O'Neil

Judith Anderson ... Mrs. Ivers
Roman Bohnen ... Mr. O'Neil

Darryl Hickman ... Sam as a Boy
Janis Wilson ... Martha as a Girl

Ann Doran ... Bobbi St. John
Frank Orth ... Hotel Clerk
James Flavin ... Detective #1
Mickey Kuhn ... Walter as a Boy
Charles D. Brown ... McCarthy - Private Detective
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gene Ashley ... Man (uncredited)
Walter Baldwin ... Dempsey - Garage Owner (uncredited)
Bill Burt ... Man (uncredited)

Gino Corrado ... Nightclub Waiter (uncredited)
Catherine Craig ... French Maid (uncredited)
Kernan Cripps ... Policeman (uncredited)
Sayre Dearing ... Craps Shooter (uncredited)
Kay Deslys ... Deputy Elizabeth Baker, Jail Matron (uncredited)
Tom Dillon ... Detective (uncredited)
William Duray ... Waiter (uncredited)

Blake Edwards ... Sailor (uncredited)
Tom Fadden ... Cab Driver (uncredited)
Chuck Hamilton ... Strong Arm Man (uncredited)
Betty Hill ... Waitress (uncredited)
Robert Homans ... Gallagher, the Cop (uncredited)
Olin Howland ... Newspaper clerk (uncredited)
Gladden James ... John (uncredited)
Payne B. Johnson ... Bellboy (uncredited)
John Kellogg ... Joe - Private Detective (uncredited)
Harry Leonard ... Craps Shooter (uncredited)
Thomas Louden ... Lynch (uncredited)
Matt McHugh ... Bus Driver (uncredited)
Al Murphy ... Waiter (uncredited)
Bob Perry ... Bartender (uncredited)
Ricky Ricardi ... Man (uncredited)
Cyril Ring ... Nightclub Extra (uncredited)
Bert Roach ... Man Waiting for Friend (uncredited)
Tommy Ryan ... (uncredited)
Tom Schamp ... Policeman (uncredited)
Amzie Strickland ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Max Wagner ... Jake, the Detective (uncredited)

Directed by
Lewis Milestone 
 
Writing credits
Robert Rossen (screenplay)

John Patrick (story "Love Lies Bleeding") (as Jack Patrick)

Robert Riskin  uncredited

Produced by
Hal B. Wallis .... producer
 
Original Music by
Miklós Rózsa  (as Miklos Rozsa)
 
Cinematography by
Victor Milner (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Archie Marshek 
 
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier 
John Meehan 
 
Set Decoration by
Sam Comer 
Jerry Welch 
 
Costume Design by
Edith Head 
 
Makeup Department
Wally Westmore .... makeup supervisor
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert Aldrich .... assistant director (uncredited)
Richard McWhorter .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Harold Lewis .... sound recordist
Walter Oberst .... sound recordist
 
Visual Effects by
Farciot Edouart .... process photography
Jan Domela .... matte painting assistant (uncredited)
Gordon Jennings .... special optical effects (uncredited)
W. Wallace Kelley .... transparency projectionist (uncredited)
Paul K. Lerpae .... special optical effects assistant (uncredited)
Irmin Roberts .... matte painting assistant (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Helen Thurston .... stut double: Judith Anderson (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Neal Beckner .... second camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Eugene Zador .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
116 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The car that Sam Masterson (Van Heflin) drives into Iverstown at the beginning of the film is a 1942 DeSoto Custom Convertible.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: During the scene when Martha and Sam are standing by the campfire, the amount of smoke varies drastically from angle to angle.See more »
Quotes:
Toni Marachek:You know what probation is?
Sam Masterson:Sure! A knife stickin' in your back!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Paramount Presents (1974) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Strange LoveSee more »

FAQ

How is Martha related to her aunt?
What is Martha's 'strange love'?
Why did Martha kill her aunt?
See more »
46 out of 51 people found the following review useful.
"It's what people want, and how hard they want it, and how hard it is for them to get it.", 25 September 2006
Author: imogensara_smith from New York City

"Don't look back, baby," says a man who knows his Gideon Bible, "You know what happened to Lot's wife." But her fate is mild compared to the torments of two people—and a third they draw into their web—who can never stop looking back to something that happened when they were children. What connects this melodrama with noir films like the perfectly named OUT OF THE PAST, THE KILLERS (in which the hero explains that he is doomed because, "I did something wrong, once"), and many others is the theme that one mistake, one "reckless moment," can seal your fate forever.

The three children are Sam Masterson, a streetwise kid from the wrong side of the tracks; Walter O'Neil, a timid, obedient boy whose father is ambitious for him; and Martha Ivers, the orphaned heiress to a steel mill, who lives miserably with her aunt (Judith Anderson, in Mrs. Danvers mode). On the fateful night, all three are in the house when Martha, driven over the edge (her aunt both insults her dead father, a mill hand, and beats her kitten!) whacks her aunt with her own cane and sends her tumbling to her death at the foot of a grand staircase. Walter's father sees his chance, and holding the threat of exposure over Martha's head, takes control of her fortune and later forces her to marry Walter. When, eighteen years later, Sam (who ran away night of the killing on a circus train) blows back into town, Martha and Walter fear he has returned to blackmail them with his knowledge; Walter also fears, rightly, that Martha and Sam still carry a torch for each other. The highly-charged triangle becomes a quadrangle with the addition of Toni Marachek, a young woman just out of jail whom Sam picks up and befriends.

THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS is a conventional studio product, lacking the expressive camera-work or atmospheric settings that noir usually offers. Bombastic music deafens each emotional climax; women go to sleep with their glossy masks of makeup intact; obvious back-projection and poorly staged action sequences make the film look like a staged play. None of this really diminishes the movie, however, since its power comes from a smart script, especially from the complexity of characters and relationships. There is a strong affinity between Sam and Martha, both tough and poised and hard to read, while Toni and Walter are more vulnerable and obvious, driven by the simple motivation of love. But by the end it's clear that Martha and Walter have become twins, warped by their shared guilt (they both took part in prosecuting an innocent man who was hanged for the murder), while Sam and Toni share a fundamental decency and the capacity to look ahead to a fresh start.

Nice girl Toni is there to provide eye candy and a potential happy ending for Sam, but she gets a lot of screen time, too much in fact for her one-note character. Fans of Lizabeth Scott won't agree, but unless you find her particularly alluring, her scenes get a little tedious. Van Heflin is easy-going as Sam, the self-confident gambler who thinks he's seen it all, until he encounters Martha and Walter's toxic marriage. Heflin, though rather homely, brings a likable raffishness to the part, and his casual opportunism keeps you guessing about what he'll do next.

Kirk Douglas was never cast as such a weakling again (this was his debut film) but the mismatch works brilliantly. His intensity and powerful presence make his abject character fiercely compelling, instead of merely pathetic. A less imposing actor would come off as just a milquetoast; Douglas's manliness adds an interesting touch of perversity to his plight. His weakness is inside. Douglas captures perfectly Walter's insecurity and helpless jealousy, his cowardly use of his power (through Martha's influence, he has become District Attorney), his lame attempts to project confidence, his dependence on alcohol to salve his humiliation. He's not dumb; he knows that Martha would never have married him without the threat of exposure, but he clings to his feeble hold on her because he loves her desperately. You can't help feeling sorry for him, especially when Martha accuses him and his father of coming after her money like leeches, and he cries out, "All I wanted was you!"

Then there's Martha, the mysterious center of the film. Barbara Stanwyck has an amazing ability to draw the audience to her side and at the same time make one's blood run cold. She's in her prime here as a glamorous businesswoman (with steely satisfaction she shows off the improvements she made to the factory, "all by myself") who conveys total control, yet feels trapped in a life she loathes. Her hardness is at once glorious and chilling; she controls her husband like a cruel hypnotist. When she breaks down in tears and tells Sam that she has been the victim all along, powerless and frightened, like Sam you're moved but not quite sure you believe her. Even at the end, the ambiguity is unresolved: how much is Martha the victim, how much the villain? Walter says it's no one's fault; it's just the way things are; it's what people will do to get the things they want. The scenes between Martha and Walter are the highlight of the film, saturated with a poisonous mixture of love and hate, tinged with sado-masochism ("Even pain at your hands…" Walter sighs when she puts iodine on his cut hand). This pact with desire, fear, greed and guilt is the spectacle of ruin--the Sodom and Gomorrah--that prompts Sam to warn Toni, "Don't look back, baby; don't ever look back."

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Lizabeth Scott is the Real Star kjewitt
Praised, but still underrated. danielj_old999
Lizbeth Scott DianaDorsFan
Other movies with a similar plot? [*SPOILER*] eugenie51
Van Heflin...!!! olebuttermilksky5-1
judith anderson as Mrs. Ivers ksf-2
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