By Love Possessed

By Love Possessed

Director: John Sturges, Lana Turner, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Jason Robards Jr.

Cast: John Sturges, Lana Turner, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Jason Robards Jr.

     
 

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There's always something simmering beneath the quaint and placid surface of small-town New England lives -- and that includes the usual maladies of alcoholism, rape, and suicide. At least this is the case if you go by the tortuous tale told in By Love Possessed, a Peyton Place knock-off, directed with glossy intensity by the usually reliable action

Overview

There's always something simmering beneath the quaint and placid surface of small-town New England lives -- and that includes the usual maladies of alcoholism, rape, and suicide. At least this is the case if you go by the tortuous tale told in By Love Possessed, a Peyton Place knock-off, directed with glossy intensity by the usually reliable action director John Sturges (Bad Day at Black Rock and The Magnificent Seven). The tale chronicles the miserable lives of Arthur Winner (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.), Julius Penrose (Jason Robards Jr.), and Noah Tuttle (Thomas Mitchell) -- legal counseling partners in a law firm that could probably use some good counseling themselves. Arthur's wife Clarissa (Barbara Bel Geddes) has nothing but contempt for poor Arthur because she considers their marriage as more a business deal than a love match. Then there's Julius's wife Marjorie (Lana Turner) who has become a full-time alcoholic ever since Julius has been rendered impotent by an automobile accident. Arthur and Marjorie's frustrations both gel into an illicit romantic union. Arthur certainly needs some kind of diversion since his son Warren (George Hamilton) refuses to follow in his father's footsteps by becoming a lawyer. As if that weren't enough, he also refuses to marry Helen Detweiller (Susan Kohner), the girl Arthur wants him to marry because she is rolling in money and is also the ward of Noah. Instead, Warren runs off with the local town whore (Yvonne Craig), who accuses Warren of raping her. Despondent, Helen resorts to desperate measures when she is rejected, and Arthur realizes that he must begin to reconsider his life choices.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Perhaps if Douglas Sirk had directed it, By Love Possessed might have emerged as a soap opera classic, full of the cool irony that managed to add depth to otherwise superficial situations and blessed with color and design that becomes an intrinsic part of the viewing experience. But Sirk is nowhere to be found in Possessed; the direction is by John Sturges, a talented director who is just out of his element here. Sturges' work is capable and professional, but uninvolved and lacking commitment and imagination. He photographs beautiful luxurious homes full of decanters and crystal, without using those homes to reflect the hollowness of their owners' lives. The screenplay for Possessed is total bosh, a gathering of skin-deep characterizations, incredibly-converging circumstances, trite dialogue and everything else one associates with the typical soap opera. Fans of the genre will enjoy wallowing in all this, but those looking for something fresh or insightful will come away disappointed. Possessed does feature some performances that are noteworthy, with the greatest praise going to Barbara Bel Geddes, whose thoughtful performance does wonders with a role that is paper thin; the actress takes a stick character and turns her into a living and breath person whose sense of "real-ness" grabs the viewer. Jason Robards, Jr., an excellent actor, doesn't find as much depth in his portrayal, but he's always interesting to watch, and Thomas Mitchell is in fine form as well. Lana Turner is fine if not great, and Efram Zimbalist, Jr. and George Hamilton are a tad dull, but Susan Kohner makes a few memorable moments along the way.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/15/2011
UPC:
0883904237907
Original Release:
1961
Source:
Mgm Mod
Time:
1:56:00
Sales rank:
15,156

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lana Turner Marjorie Penrose
Efrem Zimbalist Arthur Winner
Jason Robards Julius Penrose
George Hamilton Warren Winner
Susan Kohner Helen Detweiler
Barbara Bel Geddes Clarissa Winner
Thomas Mitchell Noah Tuttle
Everett Sloane Reggie
Yvonne Craig Veronica Kovacs
Jean Willes Junie McCarthy
Frank Maxwell Jerry Brophy
Gilbert Green Mr. Woolf
Carroll O'Connor Bernie Breck

Technical Credits
John Sturges Director
Del Armstrong Makeup
Elmer Bernstein Score Composer
Edward Boyle Set Decoration/Design
Layne Britton Makeup
Malcolm Brown Art Director
John Dennis Screenwriter
John Dennis Screenwriter
Russell Metty Cinematographer
Walter Mirisch Producer
Charles Schnee Screenwriter
John Dennis Charles Schnee Screenwriter
Bill Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer
Ferris Webster Editor

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