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The wife of a psycho-analyst falls prey to a devious quack hypnotist when he discovers she is an habitual shoplifter. Then one of his previous patients now being treated by the real doctor is found murdered, with her still at the scene, and suspicion points only one way. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In a movie like "Whirlpool" you must take the good together with the weaknesses and naivety. The story is reasonably interesting and entertaining: the quack doctor Korvo (Jose' Ferrer) hypnotizes and cheats Ann Sutton (Gene Tierney), the spouse of a distinguished psychoanalyst (Richard Conte). A mysterious murder ensues... Unfortunately, some twists of the story are unplausible, to say the least. The moody atmosphere and the suspense are tame, even for the standards of the 1940's.
The black and white cinematography and the use of the camera are excellent. The direction by Otto Preminger is sound. The job of the cast is very good, especially by Jose' Ferrer, Gene Tierney and Charles Bickford, as the old, life-weary policeman. Richard Conte is less convincing, possibly due to the uneasy character he has to play: a famous analyst who, indeed, is incredibly dumb in getting the mental problems of his adorable spouse. There is a certain evidence that old masters of film-making had no much esteem of psychoanalysis: here Dr. Sutton seems far less competent in psychology than the quack doctor Korvo.
The major credit of "Whirlpool" is the presence of Gene Tierney. Her divine beauty shines through the film, although it somewhat makes Dr. Sutton seem even more stupid. I say: Sutton neglects Gene Tierney, to go to some blasted scientific conference. Are you kidding or what? And Gene has some scenes to show her outstanding talent as an actress. For instance, see Gene at the police station, first dizzy at her voids of memory, thereafter bravely facing and ill-using her husband, who thinks her to be an adulteress (another great job by Sutton! He is really a genius!).
Thus Gene Tierney's class, loveliness, radiant beauty, talent are largely enough to erase the defects of "Whirlpool". Let me recommend this nice movie.
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