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Possessed 1947
Description: A dazed girl walks the roads of Los Angeles looking for a boy called David. After collapsing in a diner, she's taken to the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital. Flashbacks reveal her obsession for David as a effect of borderline personality disorder which ultimately leads to murder.
Released: 26 Jul 1947 Director: Curtis Bernhardt Writers: Silvia Richards (screenplay), Ranald MacDougall (screenplay), Rita Weiman (story) Actors: Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey, Geraldine Brooks Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
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Possessed Reviews:

POSSESSED (1947) is a somewhat underrated Warner Bros.noir. With an perfect central performance from its star Joan Crawford this highly charged drama could be better thought of than it is and deserving of much more exposure. It is one of Crawford's greatest pictures so this overdue release on DVD is something of an event!Crawford, new from winning an Acadamy Award for "Mildred Pierce" looked as if she was trying for other one here with her well measured portrayal of a neurotic personal 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 nice wide-eyed antagonistic performances with fine help from Van Heflin, Raymond Massey (in one of his more amiable roles), the ill-fated Geraldine Brookes (whose previous movie 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 ellegant and sharp monochrome cinematography of Joseph Valentine, an effective score by the nice 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 great pack - extras contain a ten minute featurette on the noir aspects of "Possessed", a nice commentary by movie historian Drew Casper and an perfect trailer.


For the young Joan Crawford, MGM was the excellent studio. All that gloss, rags to riches, Gable, and gowns. But MGM had a difficult time with actresses as they aged and the old formulas weren't working anymore - Shearer, Garbo, and Crawford being three such examples. The another two quit, but Joan went over to Warner Brothers and revived her career.It was a nice move. I love the Crawford movies at Warner's. They were grand potboilers enlivened by her presence.Possessed is post-war, and after the war, the fresh rage was psychology. This film 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 storyline 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 fight and is taking off. And that's when Joan takes off - emotionally. She becomes fully 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 actually married to the widower Massey). When the film begins, she's wandering the road telling "David," which is Heflin's name in the movie.One of the posters recommended Tyrone Power for this role. I'm all for him in any movie, and it's true, the presence of a large star as David would have elevated the movie to a grander status. As it is, it's an perfect car for Crawford, who runs the gamut of emotions.Raymond Massey is stoic and solid as Crawford's fresh 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 nice watching. Heflin, as the object of all the possession obsession, is smooth and detached.But create no mistake about it. This is Joan Crawford's present and she makes the most of it. The script will hold you interested, and you won't be able to take your eyes off of Joan descending into madness.


Possessed (1947) *** (out of 4)Joan Crawford's wonderful performance is the highlight of this thriller. In the movie she plays Louise Howell, a girl who starts to suffer a mental breakdown after the boy (Van Heflin) she loves walks away from her. Even though she marries other boy (Raymond Massey) the stress of the another one leaving her just causes her mind to collapse. It's very necessary to mission out the fact that this movie was released thirteen years before Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO and I tell that because of how much credit that movie gets when it comes to looking at mental illness. Viewing POSSESSED today it's simple to see where the movie is going as it is quite predictable and there's no question that some of the mental disease terms are out of date. With that said, for the most part this is a fairly nice thriller that manages to hold your attention thanks in huge part to the terrific cast. I'm not sure what else can be told about Crawford but there's no question that she was on quite a row at Warner. First with MILDRED PIERCE then HUMORESQUE and finally POSSESSED, the actress was really pushing herself and it made for three wonderful performances. What's so nice about her performance here is how many various personalities she manages to play. This hero goes through all sorts of mental "issues" and I really loved the different methods Crawford brought them to the screen. It should be as easy as someone turning their back on her or someone saying her that they're not in love. There are few scenes where she's imagining things event to her and Crawford is just flawless. It certainly doesn't support that Heflin is excellent as the snake and Massey is also extremely nice as the helping husband. Geraldine Brooks also deserves a lot of credit for her unbelievable helping performance as the step-daughter. Director Curtis Bernhardt brings a lot of style and atmosphere to the movie and there's also some unbelievable cinematography that helps. Again, the movie is quite predictable but this doesn't take away the fun or the brilliant work by Crawford.



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