Saturday, June 21, 2003


Often referred to has a Technicolor film noir, this is really more like a soap opera with a psycho woman from hell as its main character; it perhaps inspired movies from QUEEN BEE to FATAL ATTRACTION. It has murder and a femme fatale, but it doesn't feel very noirish in atmosphere or other details. Gene Tierney (looking lovely and doing the best acting I've seen from her yet) plays Ellen, a "bad" girl whose main fault, according to her mother (Mary Philips), is that she loves too much. The film begins with the funeral of her father, whom she loved obsessively, and soon she transfers that familial obsession to a romantic one when she meets author Cornel Wilde on a train trip. They grow close quickly and she impulsively announces to her family and her ex-boyfriend (Vincent Price, wasted in a role which plays to none of his strengths) the news that she and Wilde are engaged, news that is a bit of a surprise to Wilde. After a brief idyllic time together, things start going badly as she becomes unreasonably jealous of anyone who captures Wilde's attention for any amount of time, including her sister (Jeanne Crain) and Wilde's handicapped little brother (Darryl Hickman). Most of the film takes place in the great outdoors, near mountains and lakes, at rustic cabins in the woods, and the cinematography is colorful and bright. Tierney has at least one great scene which plays out much like the scene in THE LITTLE FOXES where Bette Davis coldly and calculatedly lets someone die. There's another scene where Tierney, jealous now of her own unborn child, throws herself down the stairs to cause a miscarriage; the look on her face as she does this is something to behold. Other members of the cast include Gene Lockhart as a family doctor, Ray Collins, and Chill Wills. The last part of the movie, which becomes a courtroom drama, is anticlimactic. Definitely watchable, thanks largely to Tierney and the lovely settings.

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