A struggling young actress with a six-year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white.
An actress, a director, and a writer are asked to help revive the career of ruthless Hollywood studio bigwig Jonathan Shields. However, all three are reluctant because they have all been used and betrayed by him in the past.
It's the pre-WWII era. Peyton Place is a small town in New England, whose leading adult citizens rule the town with their high moral standards, which they try to pass on to their offspring. The adults, especially those that wield power largely through their positions and/or through their wealth, will not tolerate anything they believe morally improper, even if there is a hint of impropriety without comprehensive evidence to back up the hints. As their offspring grow from teenagers to adults, the offspring learn that there is much hypocrisy by the adults lying underneath that façade of proper Christian morals. The offspring begin to rebel in different ways, which is brought to public scrutiny with the arrival into town of an "outsider", the new young high school principal Michael Rossi, and through a murder trial. Written by
Okay, so I wasn't alive in the 50s. But my father certainly was.
He recommended this movie to me, and I have to say -- I was impressed.
It represents one of the few mainstream films of the era that presented day-to-day life as it really was. Peyton Place is a movie that strips away the candy-coated exterior which surrounds many a 50s film, and shows the raw and flawed lives of people who are struggling with issues that viewers in today's society can still relate to.
Although a different genre, it wasn't until I delved deeper into Film Noir that I discovered more films that presented an edgier and raw window into the world of the 40s and 50s. I appreciate a writer or director that has the guts to risk losing viewers by insisting on honest presentation of culture or events.
This film is worth a look.
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