Whirlpool

Whirlpool

Director: Otto Preminger

Cast: Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, José Ferrer

     
 
Whirlpool is a good film, one that will especially please those viewers who appreciate the joys of film noir. Yet Whirlpool is also a disappointing film, especially for those familiar with the talent involved who might expect a more satisfying end product. Part of the problem is that Whirlpool's screenplay is filled with implausibilities. Adding

Overview

Whirlpool is a good film, one that will especially please those viewers who appreciate the joys of film noir. Yet Whirlpool is also a disappointing film, especially for those familiar with the talent involved who might expect a more satisfying end product. Part of the problem is that Whirlpool's screenplay is filled with implausibilities. Adding to the problem is the fact that so much of its outlook on psychology and hypnotism are incredibly dated. Even the crackling, flavorful Ben Hecht dialogue can't quite make up for these problems, or for the echoes of Spellbound that surface throughout the film. But the bigger problem seems to be with Otto Preminger's direction. It's good, mind you, but it works in fits and starts; it's almost as if Preminger found himself both attracted to and afraid of the film for some reason. His commitment to Whirlpool ebbs occasionally, then comes back strong, and this occurs several times. It's not enough to sink the film, but it does make one wonder what Whirlpool would have been like if Preminger had felt a consistent connection to the material. Fortunately, his vacillations don't seem to affect the cast, with Gene Tierney and José Ferrer turning in thoroughly effective performances that help to offset Richard Conte's annoyingly wooden one. Despite its flaws, Whirlpool is worth watching, and there are some aspects -- its focus on kleptomania, the dual "good girl/femme fatale" quality of Tierney's character, the superficiality of the leading characters' marriage -- that are quite intriguing.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Whirlpool is a good film, one that will especially please those viewers who appreciate the joys of film noir. Yet Whirlpool is also a disappointing film, especially for those familiar with the talent involved who might expect a more satisfying end product. Part of the problem is that Whirlpool's screenplay is filled with implausibilities. Adding to the problem is the fact that so much of its outlook on psychology and hypnotism are incredibly dated. Even the crackling, flavorful Ben Hecht dialogue can't quite make up for these problems, or for the echoes of Spellbound that surface throughout the film. But the bigger problem seems to be with Otto Preminger's direction. It's good, mind you, but it works in fits and starts; it's almost as if Preminger found himself both attracted to and afraid of the film for some reason. His commitment to Whirlpool ebbs occasionally, then comes back strong, and this occurs several times. It's not enough to sink the film, but it does make one wonder what Whirlpool would have been like if Preminger had felt a consistent connection to the material. Fortunately, his vacillations don't seem to affect the cast, with Gene Tierney and José Ferrer turning in thoroughly effective performances that help to offset Richard Conte's annoyingly wooden one. Despite its flaws, Whirlpool is worth watching, and there are some aspects -- its focus on kleptomania, the dual "good girl/femme fatale" quality of Tierney's character, the superficiality of the leading characters' marriage -- that are quite intriguing.
New York Times - Dave Kehr
"Fox has done a marvelous job with the transfer of this gem, providing a razor-sharp image with appropriate grain and excellent contrast...."

Product Details

Release Date:
09/06/2005
UPC:
0024543177302
Original Release:
1949
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:37:00

Special Features

Commentary by film critic Richard Schickel; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Tierney Ann Sutton
Richard Conte Dr. William Sutton
José Ferrer David Korvo
Charles Bickford Lt. Colton
Eduard Franz Martin Avery
Barbara O'Neil Theresa Randolph
Fortunio Bonanova Feruccio di Ravallo
Constance Collier Tina Cosgrove
Ruth Lee Miss Hall
Bruce Hamilton Lt. Jeffreys
Alex Gerry Dr. Peter Duval
Larry Keating Mr. Simms
Mauritz Hugo Hotel Clerk
John Trebach Freddie
Myrtle Anderson Agnes
Lawrence Dobkin Surgeon Wayne
Nancy Valentine Taffy Lou
Clancy Cooper Watchman
Eddie Dunn Watchman
Randy Stuart Miss Landau
Helen Westcott The Secretary
Mack Williams Whorton
Howard Negley Gordon
Charles Flynn Policeman
Robert Foulk Andy
Phyllis Hill Cocktail Party Guest
Margaret Brayton Policewoman
Sue Carlton Elevator Girl
Ted Jordan Parking Attendant
Ian MacDonald Store Detective Hogan
Roger Moore Fingerprint Man

Technical Credits
Otto Preminger Director,Producer
Ben Hecht Screenwriter
Oleg Cassini Costumes/Costume Designer
Leland Fuller Art Director
Charles LeMaire Costumes/Costume Designer
Harry M. Leonard Sound/Sound Designer
Winston H. Leverett Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Louis Loeffler Editor
Arthur C. Miller Cinematographer
Alfred Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
Ben Nye Makeup
David Raksin Score Composer
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Andrew Solt Screenwriter
Lyle Wheeler Art Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Whirlpool
1. Main Titles/Kleptomaniac [:12]
2. Hiding the Truth [5:41]
3. Trying to Help [1:25]
4. Hypnotist [2:56]
5. Friendly Warning [5:31]
6. Playacting [1:02]
7. In a Trance [5:51]
8. Formal Statement [:46]
9. Intimate Relations [3:15]
10. Swindler [7:28]
11. Gall Bladder Operation [6:37]
12. Insanity Defense [1:51]
13. Confrontation [3:03]
14. Fault-Finding [4:52]
15. The Real Story [1:38]
16. Third Degree [2:10]
17. House Call [1:51]
18. Do Not Disturb [:59]
19. The Recording [3:29]
20. Getting to the Truth [4:13]

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