The script by Eileen and Robert Bassing is very intelligent, even if it did momentarily succumb to a hackneyed form of soap opera, unless every New England town is really a Peyton Place in disguise, which is a possibility. I couldn't endure the rough climate long enough to know for sure.
Speaking of New England, I loved the on site locations during the frigid winter in the Greater Boston suburban towns of Marblehead and Medford, Massachusetts and in Boston itself during the 1958 Christmas season. For me, it allowed a glimpse of the past era of a city that has undergone substantial and dramatic changes since that time. I couldn't understand, however, why Tufts University couldn't be identified by its actual name while Harvard could. Is it because one gave the producers permission while the other didn't want its prestigious academic reputation to be tarnished by the abundance of smothering, academic stuffiness and pomposity as depicted here?
What I like most about this film is its complex and sensitive portrayal of the subject of mental illness, especially considering its 1950's setting. Unfortunately, all victims of mental illness do not enjoy the advantage of having such wonderful, unselfish friends as Charlotte Bronn had in Jake Diamond and Hamilton Gregory, who were both created with very human, multifaceted flaws in their own right. And how many patients of mental illness look like Jean Simmons, even on a bad hair day? Admittedly, I am mesmerized by the woman in almost every picture where she appears, going way back to her portrayal of Stella in "Great Expectations". I very much appreciated the human complexity of nearly all of the characters, both major and minor. Even the mostly unsympathetic character of Mattie, the maid, wasn't so simple. "Nothing ever happens to me," says she. Could you delve into that view of yourself a bit more? We want to know more about that, Mattie.