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Jeanne De Casalis
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Possessive mother and housekeeper aim to divide son from his fiancée
"A Woman Possessed" is worth the watch, but it is also disappointing by not being strong and bold enough in its ending to follow through on its premise. The climax of the story takes the easy way out and undermines much of what preceded it. In addition, the telling of the story does not rise above the pedestrian.
Francis Matthews is John, a recently graduated doctor, and the only son of a possessive mother, played by Margaretta Scott. She lost her husband when the boy was 4 and she has made him the center of her life. When John returns from his foreign medical school with a fiancée in tow (Ann, played by Kay Callard), Mom determines to break up this union and reassert her domination of John. Ian Fleming, her brother, is around to set Callard straight and try to divert Scott from her course. In the brew is the housekeeper, who is the alter ego of Scott.
For much of the movie, we have to endure the cloying scheming and manipulation of Scott, while Matthews is mostly unable to see through it. We wonder when and how the great revelation of his mother's darker aims will be made, or if she will win this battle. Callard sees through her, but enlightening Matthews proves to be all but impossible.
Callard has a heart condition, and this plays into the possibility of murder. This raises the stakes even higher.
Unfortunately, of the several possible resolutions to these conflicts, the writer, Brian Clemens, chose one that is weak and not really compatible with the rest of the movie. The direction of Max Varnel is flat and adds little to the film.
In the end, the positive aspect of the picture that one remembers is the portrait of a scheming and possessive mother, who comes up against a strong potential daughter-in-law who is prepared to fight for her marriage partner.
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