The wheelchair-bound matriarch of an English family uses her handicap to cynically manipulate all those around her. She coldly destroys a daughter's relationship with a man she truly loves,...
See full summary »
Geoffrey Holden is an elderly conman who is a lovable old man when providing his beloved granddaughter with the simple luxuries of life, yet has no qualms when working a racket devised to ... See full summary »
Michael Worthington, an elderly owner of an apiary, befriends an embittered artist, Jamie McFarlaine, who is seeking a divorce from his wife. Jamie falls in love with Alice, but the romance... See full summary »
Fred J. Johnson (Lloyd Corrigan) scores a hole-in-one but his next drive, using the lucky, initialed golf ball, soars out of bounds and lands near a spot where some counterfeiters are ... See full summary »
A crusading reporter plans his own arrest and conviction for first degree murder, trying to show that the death sentence should be outlawed when based on circumstantial evidence alone, but his plan goes awry.
Mary Herries has a passion for art and fine furniture. Even though she is getting on in years, she enjoys being around these priceless articles. One day she meets a strange young painter ... See full summary »
The first female doctor in New York City comes up against prejudice from male counterparts who feel threatened by her skills. Eventually, though, they come to respect her and romance ... See full summary »
Jim Smiley has a frog that can jump further than anyone else's frog, and Jim becomes obsessed with entering the frog in all of the local jumping-frog contests, not realizing that his obsession is about to cost him his marriage.
The wheelchair-bound matriarch of an English family uses her handicap to cynically manipulate all those around her. She coldly destroys a daughter's relationship with a man she truly loves, and her machinations almost drive the son's fiance to suicide. As the family realizes what she is doing, she becomes even more calculating - and mentally unbalanced.Written by
Intense psychological drama of the type so popular at the time. Scheming Leah (Susan Peters) is wheel-chair bound in a houseful of young women; so of course we're all initially sympathetic, but then events begin to unfold. The movie is generally under-rated by the professionals, perhaps because the material sizes up as a "woman's picture". Nonetheless, it's a broodingly atmospheric production, well-acted and superbly directed. Since events take place in and around a single sea-side mansion, keeping the audience engaged becomes a challenge. Thus direction, acting and set design take on more than usual importance. I'm rather surprised that the normally budget-minded and outdoorsy Columbia studio responds as well as it does. Note how beautifully composed each frame is-- director Sturges' very real artistic eye is already in evidence, well before his celebrated conquest of wide-screen Cinemascope. Even the process shots (always a tricky challenge) of a roiling surf are expertly done, adding greatly to the sinister mood. (In passing-- there's a 10 second shot two-thirds of the way through of Phyllis Thaxter standing at a window, exulting in Logan's departure. A brief scene like this could have easily been done in spartan fashion. But notice how artistically this passing shot is both mounted and composed. It's touches like this that add up to a memorable production.) If I'm going on about the technical side, it's because this obscure little film more than most exemplifies studio craftsmanship at its 40's best.
The plot itself provides the tragically star-crossed Peters with her final film role, and she's excellent in a carefully modulated performance that could have easily gone over the top. Notice how expressively she uses her hands and fingers to suggest repressed inner feelings as she navigates through a house full of surging hormones. (I wonder how much of the real person crippled by a hunting accident is in that performance.) On the other hand, Alexander Knox as her husband strikes me as a shade too old and too stolid, but maybe he's supposed to be. The young couple, Logan and Catherine (Diana Douglas) are appropriately callow, while Douglas brings off her big scene with Peters in convincing fashion, a difficult challenge. Too bad that fine actress Phyllis Thaxter is given little more to do than stand around and look helpful as the "other woman". For those whose imagination tends to take over, it's perhaps not a stretch to think of the film as Leah's final few moments before going over the edge. Considering the movie's claustrophobic setting, a strictly "mental" dimension seems not far-fetched. However that may be, the film is a real sleeper, unfortunately under-rated, and well worth a look see, especially on a foggy night.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this