Peyton Place

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Overview

Grace Metalious' once-notorious bestseller Peyton Place is given a lavish -- and necessarily toned-down -- film treatment in this deluxe 20th Century-Fox production. Set during WWII, the film concentrates on several denizens of the outwardly respectable New England community of Peyton Place. Top-billed Lana Turner plays shopkeeper Constance McKenzie, who tries to make up for a past indiscretion -- which resulted in her illegitimate daughter Allison Diane Varsi -- by adopting a chaste, prudish attitude towards all...
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Overview

Grace Metalious' once-notorious bestseller Peyton Place is given a lavish -- and necessarily toned-down -- film treatment in this deluxe 20th Century-Fox production. Set during WWII, the film concentrates on several denizens of the outwardly respectable New England community of Peyton Place. Top-billed Lana Turner plays shopkeeper Constance McKenzie, who tries to make up for a past indiscretion -- which resulted in her illegitimate daughter Allison Diane Varsi -- by adopting a chaste, prudish attitude towards all things sexual. In spite of herself, Constance can't help but be attracted to handsome new teacher Michael Rossi Lee Philips. Meanwhile, the restless Allison, who'd like to be as footloose and fancy-free as the town's "fast girl" Betty Anderson Terry Moore, falls sincerely in love with mixed-up mama's boy Norman Page Russ Tamblyn. And while all this is going on, "white trash" Selena Cross Hope Lange is raped by her stepfather, drunken school caretaker Lucas Cross Arthur Kennedy. Other characters essential to the action are wealthy Rodney Harrington Barry Coe, who must pay the price for his dalliance with Betty Anderson; Nellie Cross Betty Field, Selena's long-suffering mother; and the town's Voice of Reason, Dr. Swain Lloyd Nolan. This 166-minute soap opera whittled down to 157 minutes before release culminates in a spectacular murder trial which lays bare the deep, dark secrets of Peyton Place. Filmed on location in Camden, Maine, Peyton Place was a huge moneymaker even those who felt that the film was but a heavily laundered shadow of the Metalious original were pleased with the professionalism of it all; it not only spawned a 1961 theatrical sequel, but also a long-running prime time TV serial.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The controversial, massively popular Peyton Place is a melodramatic soap opera of Herculean proportions. The filmmakers attempt to cram every gossipy degradation possible into the 157-minute running length, and, though the end results are actually less explicit than Grace Metalious' source novel, the film still caused quite a stir at the time. Peyton Place exposed the post-war cynicism that lurked beneath the genteel facade of the 1950s; it tempted moviegoers with the expectation of propriety, and they showed up in droves. Though the film's histrionics and suggestiveness have become somewhat passé over the years, the movie still has its own kitschy charm. Peyton Place and its TV spin-off spawned at least a decade's worth of similar soap-opera-type films.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/1/1998
  • UPC: 086162185533
  • Original Release: 1957
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lana Turner Constance MacKenzie
Hope Lange Selena Cross
Lee Philips Michael Rossi
Lloyd Nolan Dr. Matthew Swain
Arthur Kennedy Lucas Cross
Diane Varsi Allison MacKenzie
Russ Tamblyn Norman Page
Terry Moore Betty Anderson
Barry Coe Rodney Harrington
Betty Field Nellie Cross
David Nelson Ted Carter
Mildred Dunnock Mrs. Thornton
Leon Ames Harrington
Lorne Greene Prosecutor
Erin O'Brien-Moore Mrs. Page
Scotty Morrow Joey Cross
William Lundmark Paul Cross
Kip King Pee Wee
Steffi Sidney Kathy
Tom Greenway Judge
Robert Adler Jury Foreman
Harry Carter Court Clerk
Tami Connor Margie
John Doucette Army Sergeant
Edwin Jerome Cory Hyde
Alan Reed Sr. Matt
Alfred Tonkel Bailiff
Jim Brandt Messenger
Edith Claire Miss Colton
Robert H. Harris Seth Bushwell
Peg Hillias Marion Partridge
Mike Lally Bailiff
Ray Montgomery Naval Officer
Technical Credits
Mark Robson Director
L.B. Abbott Special Effects
David Bretherton Editor
Bertram Granger Set Decoration/Design
John Michael Hayes Screenwriter
Charles LeMaire Costumes/Costume Designer
William C. Mellor Cinematographer
Ben Nye Sr. Makeup
Adele Palmer Costumes/Costume Designer
Edward B. Powell Musical Direction/Supervision
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Jack Martin Smith Art Director
Jerry Wald Producer
E. Clayton Ward Sound/Sound Designer
Franz Waxman Score Composer
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Gaudy, bawdy - if tempered - big screen bru-ha of sin and sex in a small town!

    'Peyton Place' is the 50s big budget, widescreen precursor to all 60s television soap operas. It's teeming with adultery and bald faced lies set against the backdrop of a small mid-west America town - a place where everybody knows your name and nobody is above a good scandal or torrid piece of gossip. Lana Turner headlines as Constance MacKenzie, the prudish mother of upright and proper teenager, Allison (Diane Varsi). Constance¿s neurotic fear of sex masks her own checkered past, one that eventually drives her daughter to distraction. Sensitive to her own values, Allison befriends introvert and sexually repressed, Norman Page (Russ Tamblyn). The two develop a lasting friendship that is temporarily put on ice when a rumor circulates that Norman and Allison were skinny dipping in a nearby lake ¿ imagine that! Meanwhile, newly appointed high school principal, Mike Rossi (Lee Philips) is in hot pursuit of Constance¿s affections. Though Constance thwarts Mike¿s initial advances with all the tact and remedy of an ice pick, she can¿t help but eventually warm to the heat of desire that exists between them. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or at least the flee bitten dilapidated shack of Nellie (Betty Field) and Lucas (Arthur Kennedy) Cross; Selena Cross (Hope Lange) struggles to ward off the drunken advances of her maniacal stepfather. Selena¿s procurement of work in Constance¿s dress shop seems like a step in the right direction. Her mother is Constance¿s housekeeper. However, Lucas¿ jealous rage over a budding romance between Selena and Ted Carter (David Nelson) leads to her rape and impregnation. When Selena suffers a miscarriage, also by Lucas¿ hand, Nellie puts two and two together, come up with four and commits suicide by hanging herself in Allison¿s closet. Doc Swain (Lloyd Nolan), the kindly physician who tended to Selena¿s miscarriage exiles Lucas from Peyton Place with a signed confession that he threatens to turn over to the authorities. But Lucas can¿t help himself. He returns one snowy and unsuspecting eve to ravage Selena again. But this time Selena is ready for him. She murders Lucas and buries the body in the back yard. There¿s plenty more sin on tap in town, between fast and easy Betty Anderson (Terry Moore) and Rodney Harrington (Barry Coe), the heir to a textile industry presided over by Rodney¿s father (Leon Ames). Mr. Harrington tries everything to thwart their illicit romance, even fabricating an interest on Allison¿s part which results in a disastrous graduation dance for all concerned. Eventually, Rodney acquires enough conviction to oppose his father and marry Betty. The movie, considered something of a censorship breakthrough at the time of its general release, is a complete sanitization of the original sin soaked pages from Grace Metalious' novel which included, among other things, incest and sexual perversion. Considered something of a Benedict Arnold in her own home town, Metalious¿ real life ended tragically at the age of 36 when alcohol addiction caught up with her. Nevertheless, the film still packs one heck of a wallop. Several months following its release, Lana Turner¿s own life mirrored the film¿s narrative when her daughter, Cheryl Crane murdered her lover, Johnny Stompanado ¿ the right hand thug of racketeer, Mickey Cohen.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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