Lizzie (1957)

LIZZIE (1957)
Article 2341 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-23-2007
Posting Date: 1-9-2008
Directed by Hugo Haas
Featuring Eleanor Parker, Richard Boone, Joan Blondell

A troubled young woman is receiving threatening notes from a woman named Lizzie. What she doesn’t know is that Lizzie is actually one of three personalities that she has. She sees a psychiatrist for help.

Having seen SYBIL just a short while ago, I was bound to find this exploration into multiple personalities (based on a Shirley Jackson novel) rather simplistic. It’s also dismissed as campy by some viewers, and I can see certain reasons why; I found both Joan Blondell (as Elizabeth’s/Beth’s/Lizzie’s drunken aunt) and Eleanor Parker (in her Lizzie incarnation) to be rather over the top. Nevertheless, I quite like the movie; it makes a real attempt to be realistic and insightful, it avoids some of the pitfalls that plague other movies about psychiatry, and we grow to care about many of the characters. Richard Boone is excellent (and definitely non-campy) as the psychiatrist. The use of hypnotism here is fairly realistic, and I give the movie credit for never mistakenly using the word “schizophrenia” to describe Elizabeth’s condition and for also eschewing a romantic relationship between Elizabeth and the psychiatrist. It’s only marginally fantastic, with Elizabeth’s madness and the presence of hypnotism being common horror elements, though they are not used for horror here at all. This movie was actually released previous to the similarly-themed THE THREE FACES OF EVE, though in the same year.

 

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