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A dazed woman walks the streets of Los Angeles looking for a man named David. After collapsing in a diner, she's taken to the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital. Flashbacks reveal her obsession for David as a result of borderline personality disorder which ultimately leads to murder. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
Star Joan Crawford reportedly said, "I will not go one with this picture unless the Epstein Boys rewrite my part." Julius J. and Philip Epstein were then on suspension from the studio. I order to get them to accede to Crawford's demands, Jack Warner had to take them off of suspension... with back pay. See more »
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 »
I seldom hit a woman Louise, but if you don't stop this I'll end up kicking babies!
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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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