Possessed (1947)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  26 July 1947 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,929 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 35 critic

After being found wandering the streets of Los Angeles, a severely catatonic woman tells a doctor the complex story of how she wound up there.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Geraldine Brooks ...
Stanley Ridges ...
John Ridgely ...
Moroni Olsen ...
Dr. Ames
Erskine Sanford ...
Dr. Max Sherman
Peter Miles ...
Wynn Graham (as Gerald Perreau)
Jakob Gimpel ...
Pianist (as Jacob Gimpel)
Isabel Withers ...
Nurse Rosen
Lisa Golm ...
Douglas Kennedy ...
Asst. District Attorney
Monte Blue ...
Don McGuire ...
Dr. Craig


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 <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

26 July 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Secret  »

Box Office


$2,592,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The second film with this title Joan Crawford appeared in. The first was the 1931 film Possessed (1931), co-starring a young Clark Gable. This makes Crawford the only star to appear in two completely different films with identical titles. See more »


David is talking about mathematics to Louise, shows her a drawing of a parabola, and then claims that the Army wasn't interested in it. This statement is incorrect; parabolas describe the trajectory of artillery shells and the military relies heavily upon them to properly aim artillery. See more »


Carol Graham: Sometimes it's not your liver I'm worried about, it's your mind!
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Referenced in Outrageous! (1977) See more »


Kaiserwalzer (Emperor Waltz), Op. 437
Music by Johann Strauss
Played at the wedding reception
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent film, and a Good Lesson to Boot!
21 April 2006 | by (Salt Lake City) – See all my reviews

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!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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