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Return to Peyton Place (1961)

Approved | | Drama | 5 May 1961 (USA)
The residents of Peyton Place, New Hampshire, are not happy when its most famous resident, Alison Mackenzie, writes a "shocking" novel detailing the sinful secrets of the town. Most ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel)

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Complete credited cast:
Mrs. Roberta Carter
Nils (as Gunnar Hellstrom)


The residents of Peyton Place, New Hampshire, are not happy when its most famous resident, Alison Mackenzie, writes a "shocking" novel detailing the sinful secrets of the town. Most outraged is malicious Roberta Carter, who wants the book banned from the school library. Roberta's other mission is to destroy her son Ted's marriage to his Italian bride. Theirs, however, isn't the only marriage in trouble: Alison's book is causing a rift between her mother and stepfather, who is also the school principal and one of the book's few defendants. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

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Release Date:

5 May 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rückkehr nach Peyton Place  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In 1960, Hedda Hopper reported that producer Jerry Wald was trying to lure Norma Shearer out of retirement to play the mother of a teenage girl created by Lana Turner in the original, a role that eventually went to Eleanor Parker in this sequel. The announcement was probably just a publicity stunt as, at the time, Shearer had been off-screen for 20 years and was nearly 60 years old. See more »


Although this sequel picks up just several years after original story ends in the early-mid Forties, the new story occurs 15 years later with barely-aged characters living in the early Sixties. See more »


Referenced in The Fifties (1997) See more »


The Wonderful Season of Love
Music by Franz Waxman
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Performed by Rosemary Clooney
See more »

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User Reviews

You Can't Go Home Again...
30 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

As has already been stated, all of the actors in the original "Peyton Place" were replaced by new performers. That was the first mistake. The next was the script. Allison MacKenzie (Carol Lynley) has just completed a semi-autobiographical novel about her home town. Off she goes to New York for a meeting with her publisher Lewis Jackman (Jeff Chandler) and what looks like (at least at first) an antagonistic relationship between the two. Meanwhile, back in Peyton Place, Ted Carter (Brett Halsey) has just returned with his new(pregnant)Italian Bride, Raffaela (Luciana Paluzzi) and is greeted by his wealthy, influential mother, Roberta (Mary Astor) who is displeased, to say the least,by her son's choice of a wife, and immediately begins a campaign to destroy Ted's marriage and drive Raffaela away. Roberta even goes so far as to involve town outcast (and Ted's onetime girlfriend) Selina Cross (Tuesday Weld) in an attempt to make his wife jealous. In New York, Allison has discovered she likes her publisher and considers becoming involved with him. When the newly published book reaches Peyton Place, all Hell supposedly breaks loose. Allison's mother Constance (Eleanor Parker) who has a skeleton in her own closet, is disgusted by the book. Her high school principal husband Mike Rossi (Robert Sterling) however, promptly puts it in the school library. Whereupon Roberta Carter (naturally, the head of the school board) demands his resignation. And so it goes...

Most of the performances are problem number three. Lynley plays Allison so stiffly and unpleasantly that she quickly becomes a bore. Chandler is OK though he has little to work with. Parker overacts to a fault, which she often did in the past, and Sterling does about as well as Chandler. Weld is a bit shrill herself (especially when she begins an impromptu affair with new ski instructor Gunnar Hellstrom) but at least she's lively. The best scenes in the film are those between Astor (superb, as always), Halsey and Paluzzi (both of them are good and prove adequate sparring partners for Astor, though of course, they aren't in the same league) Had the film concentrated on the tension between these three, and a clearer exploration of it, then it would have been that much better. Instead, Director Jose Ferrer insists on switching back to the other ''Plot Threads'', none of them even as remotely interesting as this one. Especially Lynley's almost-affair with Chandler, which, like the rest of the film, goes nowhere. As for Ferrer, he appears to have left the performers to their own devices, and done little else. At least the obligatory town meeting, attended by all the principal characters, wraps up most of the loose ends neatly, which is certainly a novel ending for a soap opera., and the CinemaScope production is handsomely photographed. It really isn't necessary (or wise) to see the original "Peyton Place" before viewing this film, because "Return To Peyton Place" inevitably suffers in comparison. In all fairness, it must be mentioned that this film underwent extensive editing before it's release, excising scenes still glimpsed in the theatrical trailer. Astor's part suffered from the editing most (and her scenes are probably the only regrettable deletions), but the rest would only have made a mediocre melodrama that much longer.

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