Crime / Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller


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Joan Crawford as Louise Howell
Raymond Massey as Dean Graham
Van Heflin as David Sutton
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809.26 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 48 min
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1.64 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 48 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jpdoherty 7 / 10

The Ever Classic Crawford.

POSSESSED (1947) is a somewhat underrated Warner Bros.noir. With an excellent central performance from its star Joan Crawford this highly charged drama should be better thought of than it is and deserving of much more exposure. It is one of Crawford's best pictures so this overdue release on DVD is something of an event!

Crawford, fresh from winning an Acadamy Award for "Mildred Pierce" looked as if she was trying for another one here with her well measured portrayal of a neurotic private nurse in the employ of Raymond Massey. But she is unable to deal with the intensity and frustration of her unrequited love for a young engineer (Van Heflin). It all gets too much for her and she finally snaps culminating in a tragic final reel!

Crawford gives one of her great wide-eyed antagonistic performances with fine support from Van Heflin, Raymond Massey (in one of his more amiable roles), the ill-fated Geraldine Brookes (whose previous film for Warners just before this was as Errol Flynn's younger sister in "Cry Wolf") and Stanley Ridges as Crawford's psychiatrist.

From a cracking screenplay by Silvia Richards and Ranald McDougall (who also wrote "Mildred Pierce") the picture turned out to be a splendidly absorbing drama thanks to the smooth and solid direction by Curtiz Bernhardt, the stylish and sharp monochrome cinematography of Joseph Valentine, an effective score by the great Franz Waxman (featuring Schumann's rhapsodic "Carnaval - Opus 9" "played" by Van Heflin) and most of all to the outstanding performance of Miss Joan Crawford.

A nice package - extras include a ten minute featurette on the noir aspects of "Possessed", a good commentary by film historian Drew Casper and an excellent trailer.

Reviewed by blanche-2 8 / 10

Joan at Warner's - she ROCKS

For the young Joan Crawford, MGM was the perfect studio. All that gloss, rags to riches, Gable, and gowns. But MGM had a hard time with actresses as they aged and the old formulas weren't working anymore - Shearer, Garbo, and Crawford being three such examples. The other two quit, but Joan went over to Warner Brothers and revived her career.

It was a good move. I love the Crawford films at Warner's. They were grand potboilers enlivened by her presence.

Possessed is post-war, and after the war, the new rage was psychology. This movie is full of it. I'm not sure the diagnosis and terminology is correct in the film, but in layman's term, Crawford plays a total whack job. As her story unfolds to a doctor, she's a nurse taking care of Raymond Massey's wife, and she's seeing Van Heflin on a casual basis. When she falls in love with him, Heflin announces he's restless because of the war and is taking off. And that's when Joan takes off - emotionally. She becomes completely obsessed with him, and this leads to hallucinations, hysteria, and finally a psychotic break. She has able assistance by Heflin, who pops in and out and gets involved with Crawford's stepdaughter (Crawford is now married to the widower Massey). When the movie begins, she's wandering the street saying "David," which is Heflin's name in the movie.

One of the posters suggested Tyrone Power for this role. I'm all for him in any movie, and it's true, the presence of a big star as David would have elevated the film to a grander status. As it is, it's an excellent vehicle for Crawford, who runs the gamut of emotions.

Raymond Massey is stoic and solid as Crawford's new husband, and the lovely Geraldine Brooks, who died too soon, plays the stepdaughter. Her youthful vivacity is in sharp contrast to Crawford's borderline insanity and makes for great watching. Heflin, as the object of all the possession obsession, is smooth and detached.

But make no mistake about it. This is Joan Crawford's show and she makes the most of it. The script will keep you interested, and you won't be able to take your eyes off of Joan descending into madness.

Reviewed by nycritic 9 / 10

Great Crawford, Great Soap-Noir.

Obssessive love affairs have been a Hollywood staple for years upon years now with varying degrees of success, and here the formula wins. Joan Crawford, fresh out of her Oscar win in MILDRED PIERCE, acts the hell out of her role as the ill-fated Louise Howell, a former nurse who has collapsed in the middle of a street moaning "David... David.... " The thing is, she is an unknown person in a strange town and a team of psychiatrists try to find out the reason behind her madness.

POSSESSED is a good, soapy yarn told in flashback with some nice twists and turns, directed quite well by Curtis Bernhardt who gives the movie a moody noir feel, and while at times Louise's character can be quite unsympathetic, going from possessive to manic to moody (and more so once "David," played by Van Heflin, re-enters her life), there's a certain sorrowfulness about her inability to start again with her own life as a married woman, and thankfully Crawford is able to convey this perfectly. One powerful sequence which shows how great an actress (as opposed to star) she would have become if given true roles and a chance to emote while expressing little is the fantasy sequence where she imagines she has killed her step-daughter (Geraldine Brooks). Brooks has been going steady with Heflin and Crawford, not over him yet, is seething. When she confronts her, there is a struggle, secrets are revealed, and down the stairs goes Brooks. Then Crawford realizes this never happened, but to see her cruel eyes staring out from a face that looks tortured and evil and demented all at once as she waits for Brooks is chilling and the best thing in the movie.

The only flaw in the film is the need to explain Crawford's descent into schizophrenia at the end: it recalls the same procedure Hitchcock would adopt for PSYCHO. Madness is always best when left undiagnosed, but then it was deemed necessary, and this robs the film of what might have been a perfect ending: Crawford screaming "David! David! David...!" over and over again. Definitely one to seek and watch.

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