The Cobweb (1955)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

USA, 1955.  Screenplay by , additional dialogue by , based on his novel.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by Helen Rose.  Film Editing by .

Satisfying though strange melodrama from Vincente Minnelli is one of his least remembered films.  Richard Widmark plays a psychiatrist whose devotion to his patients at his clinic outweighs that towards his wife (Gloria Grahame) and children.  Lauren Bacall plays a woman with a ‘marked past’ who works at the clinic and finds a kindred spirit in Widmark, while is one of the troubled patients who can’t get over his fear of women. Like other movies from the fifties about clinical psychology, the film’s treatment of these issues is dated, but as a drama it works well enough. The central issue of the film is the selection of the clinic’s library drapes, and the power struggle that is created in the effort to choose the decorations creates all manner of dramatic conflict.

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