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Possessed ()


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After being found wandering the streets of Los Angeles, a severely catatonic woman tells a doctor the complex story of how she wound up there.

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Awards:
  • Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination.
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Cast verified as complete

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Louise Howell
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David Sutton
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Dean Graham
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Carol Graham
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Dr. Harvey Willard
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Harker
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Dr. Ames
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Dr. Max Sherman
Peter Miles ...
Wynn Graham (as Gerald Perreau)
Jakob Gimpel ...
Pianist (as Jacob Gimpel)
Isabel Withers ...
Nurse Rosen
Lisa Golm ...
Elsie
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Asst. District Attorney
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Norris
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Dr. Craig
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Coroner's Assistant
Clifton Young ...
Interne
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Coroner
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Bartell ...
Man in Cafe (uncredited)
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Man in Concert Audience (uncredited)
Paul Bradley ...
Wedding Guest (uncredited)
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Man on Church Steps (uncredited)
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Pauline Graham (uncredited)
Wheaton Chambers ...
Waiter (uncredited)
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Tom - Man at Concert (uncredited)
James Conaty ...
Jury Foreman (uncredited)
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Dr. Ames' Nurse (uncredited)
Bunty Cutler ...
Nurse (uncredited)
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Bar Patron (uncredited)
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Cable Car Motorman (uncredited)
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Secretary at Inquest (uncredited)
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First College Girl (uncredited)
Eddie Hart ...
Bartender (uncredited)
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Man in Hospital Corridor (uncredited)
Peggy Leon ...
Wedding Guest (uncredited)
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Wedding Reception Guest (uncredited)
Max Linder ...
Party Guest (uncredited)
Robert Lowell ...
Face (uncredited)
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Cafe Proprietor (uncredited)
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Butler (uncredited)
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Second College Girl (uncredited)
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Man (uncredited)
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Tommy - Nightclub Bartender (uncredited)
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Mrs. Norris - Caretaker's Wife (uncredited)
Rose Plumer ...
Woman in Cafe (uncredited)
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Nightclub Waiter (uncredited)
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Concertgoer (uncredited)
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Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
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Man at Concert / Wedding Guest / Bar Patron (uncredited)
Henry Sylvester ...
Dean's Secretary (uncredited)
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Man in Cafe (uncredited)
Richard Walsh ...
Face (uncredited)
Eric Wilton ...
Wedding Reception Guest / Man at Concert (uncredited)

Directed by

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Curtis Bernhardt

Written by

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Silvia Richards ... (screenplay) and
Ranald MacDougall ... (screenplay)
 
Rita Weiman ... (story)

Produced by

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Jerry Wald ... producer
Jack L. Warner ... executive producer

Music by

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Franz Waxman

Cinematography by

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Joseph A. Valentine ... director of photography (as Joseph Valentine)
Sidney Hickox ... (uncredited)

Film Editing by

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Rudi Fehr

Art Direction by

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Anton Grot

Set Decoration by

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Fred M. MacLean

Makeup Department

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Perc Westmore ... makeup artist

Production Management

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Louis Baum ... unit manager (uncredited)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

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Sherry Shourds ... assistant director (uncredited)

Sound Department

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Robert B. Lee ... sound

Special Effects by

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Robert Burks ... special effects
William C. McGann ... special effects director (as William McGann)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

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Adrian ... wardrobe: Miss Crawford
Bernard Newman ... wardrobe

Music Department

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Leo F. Forbstein ... musical director
Leonid Raab ... orchestral arranger

Other crew

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Herschel Daugherty ... dialogue director
Donald P. Desmond ... set construction (uncredited)
George Thompson ... technical advisor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies

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Distributors

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Special Effects

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Other Companies

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Storyline

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Plot Summary

A woman wanders the streets of Los Angeles in some sort of emotional distress. She is also under some delusion as she approaches many men, strangers who she calls "David". Eventually, an ambulance is called, the attendants who take her to the hospital, where she is eventually placed in the psychiatric ward. Placing her under some medication to help her remember, Dr. Harvey Willard, the psychiatrist on duty, is able to get some semblance of a story out of her over the ensuing days. This phase of her life begins just over a year ago when she, single RN Louise Howell, is under the employ of wealthy Dean Graham to take care of his chronically ill and largely bedridden wife, Pauline Graham, at their lake house outside of Washington, DC. Due to her circumstances, Pauline believes that Dean and Louise are carrying on an affair behind her back. Louise can see that Dean does have feelings for her that way in his loneliness. The "David" in question is David Sutton, a civil engineer who lives across the lake from the Grahams, he with who Louise had been having a secret relationship. That relationship was always meant to be casual, but David tries to break it off with her when he sees that she has fallen in love with him to an obsessional state. Louise begins to manipulate the situation to be in David's life, even if only peripherally. Louise also begins to feel that if she can't have David, nobody else should. Louise is eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia during this time - something she does not mention to anyone in her life - which places her story to Dr. Willard in some context, including what of the story is real and what is all part of her delusion. Written by Huggo

Plot Keywords
Taglines In all your life you've seen no portrayals to match the thrill of the unquenchable love of Joan Crawford for Van Heflin in "Possessed". See more »
Genres
Parents Guide Add content advisory for parents »
Certification

Additional Details

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Also Known As
  • The Secret (United States)
  • One Man's Secret (United States)
  • Possédée (France)
  • La possédée (France)
  • Hemmungslose Liebe (Germany)
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Runtime
  • 108 min
Country
Language
Color
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $2,592,000 (estimated)
Cumulative Worldwide Gross $1,085,000

Did You Know?

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Trivia Star Joan Crawford and director Curtis Bernhardt spent time in real psychiatric wards in Santa Monica, Santa Barbara and Pasadena, observing mental patients as research for the film and going over the script with doctors for the sake of authenticity. On one of those visits, Crawford and Bernhardt witnessed, without asking permission, a woman undergoing electroconvulsive therapy. Warner Bros. was later forced to pay substantial damages to the woman, who claimed their presence was an invasion of privacy. She also claimed that Crawford based the role on her, which must have been quite a compliment for the actress. See more »
Goofs During the opening sequence, while Louise is wandering the streets of Los Angeles, her shoes change from pumps to sling-backs and back again. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in Kisses (1991). See more »
Soundtracks Carnaval, Opus 9 See more »
Quotes Dr. Harvey Williard: This civilization of ours is a worse disease than heart trouble or tuberculosis, and we can't escape it.
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