Rachel is a 35 year old school teacher who has no man in her life and lives with her mother. When a man from the big city returns and asks her out, she begins to have to make decisions about her life and where she wants it to go.
Eve White is a quiet, mousy, unassuming wife and mother who keeps suffering from headaches and occasional black outs. Eventually she is sent to see psychiatrist Dr. Luther, and, while under hypnosis, a whole new personality emerges: the racy, wild, fun-loving Eve Black. Under continued therapy, yet a third personality appears, the relatively stable Jane. This film, based on the true-life case of a multiple personality, chronicles Dr. Luther's attempts to reconcile the three faces of Eve. multiple personalities. Written by
For dramatic effect movies about mental illness always have the psychiatrist coming up with a miracle cure of the patient. You saw that in Spellbound with Gregory Peck and in The Snake Pit with Olivia DeHavilland. It's not that easy, but it does make for good cinema. To give credit where it is do, The Three Faces of Eve is about a real case of multiple personality disorder and Alistair Cooke's narration does give it a proper time frame, the cure is a matter of years here.
In only her third feature film Joanne Woodward became the Best Actress for 1957, ironically beating out Elizabeth Taylor who was descending into madness in Raintree County instead of being cured. I read somewhere that the Southern born Ms. Woodward remarked ironically that it took years of training for her to lose her southern accent and then she has to find it all over again to win her Oscar. I guess the Academy voters that year were as impressed as I was how she was able to flip into three different characters in many scenes. She's drab homemaker Eve White, a Tennessee Williams sexpot as Eve Black, and as Jane who's trying to leave both behind.
As good as Woodward is, my favorite scene in The Three Faces of Eve is when psychiatrist Lee J. Cobb tries to explain to Woodward's working class husband David Wayne about multiple personality disorder. The patient looks on Cobb's face and the blank expression on Wayne's face say more than ten pages of dialog. Another performance to look for is that of future TV physician Ben Casey, Vincent Edwards as a soldier trying to pick up Woodward in her sex kitten self.
Nunnally Johnson gets some real good performances out of his cast and a once in a lifetime role for Joanne Woodward.
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