In 1909, the beautiful but amoral British belle Ivy Lexton meets older, rich Miles Rushworth; undeterred by the prior claims of her husband Jervis and lover Roger, she goes after Miles and has no trouble fascinating him, but oddly enough he has compunctions about making love to other men's wives. The means that Ivy reluctantly adopts to resolve the problem of too many men promise disaster for all concerned. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 13, 1952 with Joan Fontaine again reprising her film role. See more »
[as Ivy is poisoning him]
All this stupid expense of doctors and nonsense, you must hate me for it.
No, I don't hate you. I sometimes wish I weren't so fond of you.
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Ivy is directed by Sam Wood and adapted to screenplay by Charles Bennett from the novel The Story of Ivy written by Marie Belloc Lowndes. It stars Joan Fontaine, Patric Knowles, Herbert Marshall, Richard Ney, Cedric Hardwicke and Lucile Watson. Music is by Daniele Amfitheatrof and cinematography by Russell Metty.
Ivy Lexton (Fontaine) has a hunger to be wealthy, and setting her sights on well-to-do Miles Rushworth ( Marshall), Ivy plots a fiendish plan that spells trouble for her husband Jervis (Ney) and her lover Roger (Knowles).
Well worth discovering, Ivy showcases the dark side of Fontaine's acting prowess for great entertainment rewards. The beautiful Madame Fontaine actually disowned the movie, and this after she stepped in to the role of Ivy Lexton after her sister Olivia de Havilland turned it down. Her lack of affection for the picture goes some way to explaining why it has remained largely forgotten, which is a shame because it's a high end gaslight noir propelled by a femme fatale of some considerable substance.
The budget was high, and it shows, in the cast list, the costuming and the stunning turn of the century production design by William Cameron Menzies. Metty's low-key photography cloaks the Edwardian settings with atmospheric snugness, while Amfitheatrof underscores the drama with music that is appropriately tinged with chills. Thematically the piece is focusing on obsessions, by way of man's ignorant lust and woman's pursuit of wealth above all else. All characters are defined not by fate here, but by their actions, making for a hornet's nest of murder and adultery.
1947 was a stellar year for film noir, with big hitting movies like Out of the Past, Nightmare Alley, Kiss of Death, Odd Man Out and Brighton Rock further cementing the growing popularity of noir as a style of film making. As is often the case with the great noir years from the classic cycle, there's still little gems hidden away waiting to be brought out into the open, Ivy is one such film. Fontaine and the sumptuous noir visual style ensure this to be the case. 8/10
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