Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1947. Warner Bros.. Story by Rita Weiman, Screenplay by Silvia Richards, Ranald MacDougall. Cinematography by Joseph A. Valentine. Produced by Jerry Wald. Music by Franz Waxman. Production Design by Anton Grot. Costume Design by Adrian, Bernard Newman. Film Editing by Rudi Fehr. Academy Awards 1947. Cannes Film Festival 1947.
Joan Crawford is madly in love with architect Van Heflin, but he’s had his fun with her and doesn’t want to get married. She is devastated and goes back to her job as nurse to a mentally ill woman, then when that woman dies she marries the grieving widower (Raymond Massey) to make Heflin jealous. All this really does is increase her own instability, especially when Heflin’s fear of monogamy is cured by Crawford’s gorgeous stepdaughter. This attempt to recapture the glory of Mildred Pierce is only successful in that Crawford is once again excellent in the lead, but the technical perfection of the cinematography adds to the cold and clinical feel that director Curtis Bernhardt has for Crawford’s character. The obsession of such a complex and lively woman over this dapper but mostly dull man is never easy to understand (it’s not like she was rejected by Joel McCrea), and while seeming to want to explore the psyche of a disappointed and mistreated woman in the vein of Leave Her To Heaven, the film’s more ridiculous plot twists (and an out of place dream sequence) eventually make it a foolish treatise on old world notions of female hysteria.