MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 942 this week

The Story of Esther Costello (1957)

 -  Drama  -  6 November 1957 (USA)
5.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.7/10 from 420 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 5 critic

Eighteen-year-old Esther has been deaf and blind since the accident which killed her mother. Wealthy Margaret Landi, a native of Esther's village in Ireland, is talked into helping to ... See full summary »

Director:

0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

Fall TV Premiere Week

Many of your favorite shows are coming back, along with plenty of series premieres. Here's a list of the shows premiering between Sunday, September 21 and Friday, September 26.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 13 Nov 2011
 
a list of 487 titles
created 26 Nov 2012
 
a list of 13 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 5353 titles
created 1 month ago
 
a list of 692 titles
created 1 month ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Story of Esther Costello (1957)

The Story of Esther Costello (1957) on IMDb 5.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Story of Esther Costello.
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Susan and God (1940)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Susan Trexel is a wealthy socialite, who while vacationing in Europe undergoes a religious transformation. On her return to America, Susan takes on the task of spreading her new found ... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Joan Crawford, Fredric March, Ruth Hussey
Humoresque (1946)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A classical musician from the slums is sidetracked by his love for a wealthy, neurotic socialite.

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Joan Crawford, John Garfield, Oscar Levant
Mannequin (1937)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Rags-to-riches Hennessey meets newlyweds Jessie and Eddie from his old neighborhood. Eddie plots to have Jessie divorce him, marry Hennessey, divorce Hennessey, then bring Hennessey's money... See full summary »

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy, Alan Curtis
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A New York socialite climbs the ladder of success man by man until a life among rich gangsters gives her what she thought she always wanted.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Joan Crawford, David Brian, Steve Cochran
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Margaret Drew runs her trucking company single-mindedly, if not ruthlessly. The only thorn in her side is writer Michael Holmes who is writing a book on some of her tough ways. With no time... See full summary »

Director: Alexander Hall
Stars: Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas, Roland Young
Certificate: Passed Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A female blackmailer with a disfiguring facial scar meets a plastic surgeon who offers her the possibility of looking like a normal woman.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas, Conrad Veidt
Possessed (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey
Sadie McKee (1934)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The life of Sadie McKee takes many twists and turns. She starts as the daughter of the cook for the well off Alderson family. Lawyer Michael Alderson likes Sadie but she runs off to New ... See full summary »

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Joan Crawford, Gene Raymond, Franchot Tone
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A nightclub dancer marries into society and has to contend with her jealous sister-in-law.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Joan Crawford, Margaret Sullavan, Robert Young
Chained (1934)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A mistress of one man has a shipboard romance with another and is torn between both men.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Otto Kruger
Possessed (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Ambitious factory Girl Marion Martin meets a handsome well-to-do, but he's interested in her as a mistress, not a wife.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Wallace Ford
Flamingo Road (1949)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Carnival dancer Lane Bellamy finds herself stranded in a southern town ruled by corrupt political boss Titus Semple. Lane becomes romantically involved with sheriff Fielding Carlisle, a ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Joan Crawford, Zachary Scott, Sydney Greenstreet
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Margaret Landi
...
Carlo Landi
Heather Sears ...
Esther Costello
Lee Patterson ...
Harry Grant
Ron Randell ...
Frank Wenzel
Fay Compton ...
Mother Superior
John Loder ...
Paul Marchant
Denis O'Dea ...
Father Devlin
Sidney James ...
Ryan
...
Matron in Art Gallery
Robert Ayres ...
Mr. Wilson
Maureen Delaney ...
Jennie Costello
Harry Hutchinson ...
Irish publican
Tony Quinn ...
Irish pub customer
Janina Faye ...
Esther Costello, as a child
Edit

Storyline

Eighteen-year-old Esther has been deaf and blind since the accident which killed her mother. Wealthy Margaret Landi, a native of Esther's village in Ireland, is talked into helping to educate and possibly heal Esther. Margaret grows to love Esther as a daughter, but finds Esther's innocence threatened by sleazy promoters and her own sleazy ex-husband. Radiant performance by Heather Sears. Based on a book that nearly had Helen Keller's co-workers suing for libel due to perceived parallels between Carlo Landi and the husband of Annie Sullivan. Written by <mailcall@intersource.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Drama without equal that smashes its way into a woman's love-starved heart!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 November 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Golden Virgin  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Bonita Granville desperately wanted the part of Esther, but the studio was looking for an unknown , so the part went to Sears. See more »

Goofs

When the cottage explodes in the beginning of the movie, the right wall falls revealing the plywood set construction underneath. The stone walls are just paper covering over wood. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Lead Kindly Light
Words by Newman
Music by Dyke
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Unusual late-Crawford melodrama compelling but heavy-handed
2 June 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Joan Crawford looked back on The Story of Esther Costello as her last "really top" movie and remarked that if she had earned her Oscar for Mildred Pierce, she should have gotten "two" for Esther Costello. Perhaps one each for the dramatic arches of her eyebrows, which by this stage of her career were pencilled in with such savage abandon that they could have spanned the wide Missouri.

The grim determination she brought to every role at this late stage in her career remains tauter than ever. As a wealthy American visiting her birthplace in Ireland, she is nudged by the local Padre to look in on poor Esther (Heather Sears), a girl rendered blind and deaf by the explosion of a grenade left over from the "troubles." and living in squalid poverty. Of course Crawford takes Esther back to America, where she finds her the best schools for those similarly afflicted. Soon, the heart-wrenching tale reaches the press, at the same time luring Crawford's long-lost husband (Rossano Brazzi) out of the hole he's been hiding in.

Implausibly, Crawford falls for him all over again, and succumbs to his grandiose schemes for national and European fund-raising rallies for the "Esther Costello Fund," a racket for his self-aggrandizement. He also drinks a lot and starts stealing peeks at the blind Esther slipping in and out of her clothes. (She's busting out of the schoolgirlish frocks and ribbons she's given to dress in.)

Along happens a young reporter who's also smitten with Esther but who starts suspecting that the racket is not on the up and up. From then on it's a race to see whether Brazzi's financial chicanery or his unhealthy interest catches up with him. Crawford does, however, and ends the melodrama a la Thelma Jordon.

The distinctive and responsive score is by Georges Auric, and Jack Clayton gets an odd credit that suggests he had more to do with the movie than its nominal director. The story is certain offbeat and interesting enough, but its social comment invariably defers to the lures of heavy melodrama. The film reaches a crescendo when Brazzi learns that Esther has been left alone; he slithers to her bedside while thunder crashes and the French doors blow open to let a torrent of rain into the room...You get the picture. It's the kind of touch that's effective to watch but which undermines any claim to a serious exploration of the unusual subject matter. It's that kind of literal heavy-handedness that led Lenny Bruce to devise an irreverent (and very funny) routine on this movie's story line.


16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
view this movie tbalcarc
The ending? pamina716
Joan and Pepsi dogsandcats5
Joan Crawford flicks on YouTube jeffeastwood2000
Discuss The Story of Esther Costello (1957) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?