Article #736 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-21-2003
Posting Date: 8-18-2003
Directed by Curtis Bernhardt
Featuring Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey
A disturbed woman is placed in a psychiatric ward, where under the use of drugs she recounts the events that brought her there.
Thematically this movie might have been marginally horror merely in its use of madness, but as the madness involves hallucinations of a certain sort, the movie pushes a little farther into the horror realm than it might otherwise. This accounts for its inclusion here; beyond that, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. It’s a Joan Crawford vehicle, and that says quite a lot right there; the trouble is, I’ve never been quite sure how I feel about Joan Crawford as an actress. Partially, this is due to the fact that I’ve heard so many rumors of what her life was like offscreen, and though these wouldn’t usually make a difference, it’s somewhat jarring to see some of these rumors reflected in the roles she played; considering that “Mommie Dearest” was written by her daughter, it leaves a bit of a chill to see her have so many bad relationships with daughters (or daughter-figures) in her movies. As for evaluating her work as an actress, I’m also a bit at sea; there are times here when she is brilliant, and there are times I feel she’s a little too campy and overdone, but overall I don’t get the feeling that she’s playing the same character from scene to scene, and this leaves me feeling somewhat ill at ease. Maybe you need to be a fan of hers to really get her, and I’m not one of them, though there is no doubt she has a powerful presence. The movie also features BLACK FRIDAY’s Stanley Ridges.