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David Lowell Rich
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In 1961, TWA began showing in-flight movies on a regular basis. This film kicked-off the program and became the first movie screened in-flight by an airline. See also Come September (1961). But for the very first in-flight movie see The Lost World (1925). See more »
The fact that this is a trashy soap opera should come as no surprise to anyone acquainted with this genre from the 1950s and 60s. After all, it stars Lana Turner--a woman who made a mid-life career out of appearing in these films. This was the result of her own soap opera-like life off-screen (which included a husband murdered by Lana's own daughter who claimed he was molesting her!). Instead of avoiding this bad publicity, she exploited it to the hilt. Additionally, Efram Zimbalist Jr. and George Hamilton are in the film--two veterans of this sleazy genre--so, as I said, it's no surprise what sort of film "By Love Possessed" is.
The plot is about a lot of very stylish and very well dressed folks who, consistent with the genre, have very little reason to be unhappy but are miserable. When two marriages start to dull, Efram and Lana find each other in a torrid affair with each other. As for Hamilton, he is miserable because he's doing great in Harvard Law AND is supposed to marry a beautiful society woman who adores him (oh, the horror!!)--so he goes slumming and falls in with an opportunistic tramp (Yvonne Craig). What's to come of all these handsome, rich and dissatisfied folks? If you care, see "By Love Possessed". However, it is hard to care about these people and they all come off as rather petty and stupid (and those are only their good qualities). This film comes off as slickly made but rather vacuous--and lacking the appeal of other Turner efforts of the time such as "Peyton Place". Worth seeing if you like highly polished trash--and I could easily see this as a guilty pleasure. But also a film that is difficult to praise.
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