The Cobweb

Overview

William Gibson's novel The Cobweb was brought to the screen by MGM with an impressive, hand-picked cast. Richard Widmark plays the head of a posh psychiatric clinic. Widmark's wife Gloria Grahame jockeys for the honor of selecting new drapes for the hospital's library. One wouldn't think that such a trivial decision would spark so much melodrama; but thanks to those drapes, we are allowed to probe the disturbed psyches of martinet business affairs director Lillian Gish, philandering doctor Charles Boyer, lonely ...
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Overview

William Gibson's novel The Cobweb was brought to the screen by MGM with an impressive, hand-picked cast. Richard Widmark plays the head of a posh psychiatric clinic. Widmark's wife Gloria Grahame jockeys for the honor of selecting new drapes for the hospital's library. One wouldn't think that such a trivial decision would spark so much melodrama; but thanks to those drapes, we are allowed to probe the disturbed psyches of martinet business affairs director Lillian Gish, philandering doctor Charles Boyer, lonely activities director Lauren Bacall, and suicidal patient John Kerr. Oscar Levant, who spent most of his life in and out of "little white rooms," is ideally cast as a neurotic musician, while Fay Wray has a superb cameo as Boyer's long-suffering wife. Cobweb served as the screen debuts for both John Kerr and Susan Strasberg.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Cobweb is a film that seems to provoke wildly varying reactions from many people. There are those who consider it a neglected near-masterwork, certainly not a true classic, but a film that has a bounty of riches. Others find it an insipid and often trying melodrama, with performances that tend to go too far over the top. Those who favor the former view agree that the story is too melodramatic, but they feel that the film is really an exercise in form over content -- that director Vincente Minnelli has filmed the entire thing as if it were a musical, lacking only actual songs, and that if viewed in this light, the extreme emotions, the sudden outbursts, and the quiet reflections take on a great fascination. Those who dislike the film dismiss this, contending that even if it is rue, it isn't enough to make up for the superficial characterizations and lack of character depth. About the only thing the two sides can agree on is that Lillian Gish's change-of-pace performance is a delight to watch, that Fay Wray is quite touching in her brief role, and that Minnelli has photographed the film with his usual style and visual flair. On the whole, The Cobweb is worth watching, if for no other reason than to see which camp you fall into.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/18/2011
  • UPC: 883316311516
  • Original Release: 1955
  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: Remastered
  • Time: 2:04:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 40,034

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Widmark Dr. Stewart McIver
Lauren Bacall Meg Faversen Rinehart
Charles Boyer Dr. Douglas N. Devanal
Gloria Grahame Karen McIver
Lillian Gish Victoria Inch
John Kerr Steven W. Holte
Susan Strasberg Sue Brett
Oscar Levant Mr. Capp
Tommy Rettig Mark
Paul Stewart Dr. Otto Wolff
Jarma Lewis Lois DeMuth
Adele Jergens Miss Cobb
Edgar Stehli Mr. Holcomb
Sandy Descher Rosemary
Bert Freed Abe Irwin
Mabel Albertson Regina Mitchell-Smythe
Fay Wray Edna Devanal
Oliver Blake Curly
Olive Carey Mrs. O'Brien
Eve McVeagh Shirley
Virginia Christine Sally
Jan Arvan Mr. Appleton
Ruth Clifford Mrs. Jenkins
Myra Marsh Miss Gavney
James Westerfield James Petlee
Marjorie Bennett Sadie
Stuart Holmes Mr. Wictz
Dayton Lummis
Technical Credits
Vincente Minnelli Director
George Folsey Cinematographer
William Gibson Screenwriter
John Houseman Producer
Harold Kress Editor
John Paxton Screenwriter
Leonard Rosenman Score Composer
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