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The plot of this 15-minute daytime drama centered around Susan Martin, a paralyzed lawyer, and her involvement in the lives of those around her, especially the man she loves, Bill Carter, and the beloved family housekeeper, Laura.
The wheelchair-bound matriarch of an English family uses her handicap to cynically manipulate all those around her. She coldly destroys a daughter's relationship with a man she truly loves, and her machinations almost drive the son's fiance to suicide. As the family realizes what she is doing, she becomes even more calculating - and mentally unbalanced. Written by
Charles Bickford brought the Margaret Ferguson novel to Susan Peters' attention, through her agent. She interested retired director Irving Cummings in the property, Cummings formed an independent company with the Orsatti agency to produce the film. Under the deal they arranged with Columbia, Peters received one-third of the profits. See more »
Susan Peters in her post-accident wheelchair film...
SUSAN PETERS plays a wheelchair-bound woman who is the matriarch presiding over a household of ill-defined cast members--including RON RANDELL as a doctor in love with her sister Jane (ALLENE ROBERTS), an alliance she wants to destroy. She's equally manipulative with PHYLLIS THAXTER, DAME MAY Witty and hubby Alexander KNOX, but fools each of them with a demure surface performance that conceals her controlling nature.
Unfortunately, the recent TCM showing of the film features an audio track that makes some of the conversations inaudible and the soundtrack has a background score by Hans J. Salter that flares up with melodramatic excess at any of the more melodramatic moments--of which there are plenty.
There's a contrived, artificial air to the proceedings despite the competent cast. Peters does what she can with the role of the dominating woman, but none of the characters really come to life under John Sturges' leaden direction. Although based on a novel, it gives the impression of being based on an old-fashioned play with all the stock characters inhabiting a drawing room drama.
Considering that this was a tailor-made vehicle for Susan Peters' return to the screen after an unfortunate hunting accident left her paralyzed from the waist down, it's sad to report that it's not a worthy vehicle for her as the wicked step-mother. The final scene is an example of the worst sort of melodramatic excess of '40s-era weepies.
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