In London, the pregnant wife of an industrialist falls down the stairs, loses her sight and has no recollection of the events but suspects that a mentally traumatic experience prior to the fall caused her accident.
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A young woman's highly ordered and structured life is turned upside-down when she meets a handsome stranger at a party. Friendship soon develops into romance and for the first time in her ... See full summary »
Film screenwriter Jake Armitage and his wife Jo Armitage live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children are spread over Jo's three... See full summary »
Effective psychological love story with a macabre twist not found in the original Joy Cowley novel. The dreary existence of middle- aged spinster Maura Prince takes an unexpected turn with ... See full summary »
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Alison Crawford lives a comfortable life with her husband Eric and their two children. Alison is blind and she knows that her illness is not physical but psychosomatic. She had a fall at their second home and woke up unable to see. She has no recollection of losing consciousness or what may have happened immediately prior to that. Her vivacious younger sister Robin accompanies her to their country home where they are soon joined by Eric and a family friend, Paul. Eric and Robin had long ago had a fling but she was quite young at the time and he settled on the older Alison. As memories return to her, Alison recalls what is she saw the night she went blind. Written by
"Psyche '59" opened at an art theatre in New York City in 1964. Receiving lukewarm reviews, it closed quickly, and was then used as a co-feature in neighborhood theatres. I consider it a near-masterpiece. Starring Patricia Neal, Curt Jurgens, and Samantha Eggar, it is a spellbinding study of a woman suffering from hysterical blindness, her sex addict husband, and her younger sister, who it seems was sexually imposed-upon at a young age, and who is both cruelly nymphomaniacal and masochistic as a result. This film was clearly ahead of its time.
The screenplay by Julian Zimet, from a novel by Francoise des Ligneris, is a finely-nuanced piece of work.
Alexander Singer might be considered a great director of films about women's issues, as well as a great director of actresses. Consider his direction of Lola Albright in "A Cold Wind in August" three years before, and his direction of Lana Turner in "Love Has Many Faces" the year following. The fact that all three of these films were failures is clearly the reason why Singer is not widely known ("Love Has" having failed simply because its critics and audiences could not appreciate its deliberately melodramatic style).
The cinematography in "Psyche '59" is outstanding. One shot, in which the camera manages to look upward towards Samantha Eggar, while she is lying on the sand, took my breath away. Within the context of the scene, this use of strange camera angle was intensely effective, and not at all pretentious. Whether it was Singer's idea, or that of cinematographer Walter Lassally, I guess I'll never know.
The only flaw in "Psyche '59" is that the actress in the role of the grandmother seems too young for the part.
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