Domineering Harriet Craig holds more regard for her home and its possessions than she does for any person in her life. Among those she treats like household objects are her kind husband ... See full summary »
Millicent Wetherby is a middle-aged woman whose life is devoid of love and affection. Millicent's solitary existence changes when she encounters Burt Hansen a charismatic younger man. As ... See full summary »
A piano teacher believes that her fiancé was killed on the battlefield. When he miraculously returns, they decide to marry, but are threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer the piano teacher started dating on the rebound after she became convinced her love had died.
A woman wanders the streets of Los Angeles in some sort of emotional distress. She is also under some delusion as she approaches many men, strangers who she calls "David". Eventually, an ambulance is called, the attendants who take her to the hospital, where she is eventually placed in the psychiatric ward. Placing her under some medication to help her remember, Dr. Harvey Willard, the psychiatrist on duty, is able to get some semblance of a story out of her over the ensuing days. This phase of her life begins just over a year ago when she, single RN Louise Howell, is under the employ of wealthy Dean Graham to take care of his chronically ill and largely bedridden wife, Pauline Graham, at their lake house outside of Washington, DC. Due to her circumstances, Pauline believes that Dean and Louise are carrying on an affair behind her back. Louise can see that Dean does have feelings for her that way in his loneliness. The "David" in question is David Sutton, a civil engineer who lives ... Written by
During the opening sequence, while Louise is wandering the streets of Los Angeles, her shoes change from pumps to sling-backs and back again. See more »
You've changed, David. Something's changed you.
No. We were through before I went to Canada. I suppose I *should* have put that in writing.
But now you're hard, and bitter.
Bored, I think, would be a bit closer to it.
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Having become quite the aficionado of film-noir over the past couple of years, I have had the pleasure of watching dozens of films in that fascinating genre. 'Possessed' is yet another great entry in this genre that has captured my attention during this period of time.
'Possessed' is not your usual film noir. First, there is no brooding male narration, as one might expect from their typical film noir. Second, the picture almost entirely revolves itself around a lead female character, and this character is neither menaced (e.g. Laura), nor is she a femme fatale (a la Barbara Stanwyck in 'Double Indemnity'). Finally, there are quite a number of perfectly rational and sympathetic characters in the film, something you come to *not* expect from your typical film noir.
Joan Crawford plays Louise Graham, a nurse who is introduced to us at the beginning as an extremely distraught and disoriented woman, calling for a man named 'David'. Soon, she falls into a coma induced by psychosis, but is drawn out of this stupor by a sympathetic psychiatrist who wants to discover the source of her illness. Louise recalls her story, which mostly revolves around her unrequited love for a particularly callous man named David Sutton (played marvelously by Van Heflin). When her relationship with Sutton dissolves, she throws herself entirely into her work as a nurse for a certain Mrs. Graham, the mentally ill wife of a very wealthy man. Louise eventually steps into the role of 'Mrs. Graham' after the first Mrs. Graham commits suicide. Unfortunately, Louise's unrequited passion for David, along with her guilt over the death of her patient, cause her to fall into an ever worsening spiral of psychosis.
Joan Crawford is quite marvelous as Louise. She plays her role to the hilt, adding a touch of melodramatic flair that really works in this film. Oddly enough, I did not enjoy Joan Crawford much in 'Mildred Pierce', which I found to be an utterly inferior film. She should have won her Oscar for *this* performance. Van Heflin, as the self-absorbed and emotionally brutish playboy David Sutton, is perfect in this movie. Some of his lines, as insensitive and clumsy as they seem, are downright hilarious...it's all in the delivery. Raymond Massey and Geraldine Brooks provide very nice supporting performances as well. The mood of this film is rather well set by the very much underrated director Curtis Bernhardt.
Finally, it must be said that this film is rather instructive and insightful in its depiction of the horrors of schizophrenia. In that regard, it may very well be a film well before its time.
Please check it out!
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