Lady Possessed (1952)

Article 3029 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-23-2009
Posting Date: 11-29-2009
Directed by William Spier
Featuring James Mason, June Havoc, Stephen Dunne
Country: USA

A pianist takes his ailing wife out of a London hospital at the same time that another female patient there has suffered a miscarriage. Afterwards, the second woman feels empty and withdrawn, and, thinking that getting her away from London will help, her husband takes her to live at a country estate, which turns out to be the former residence of the pianist who left after his wife died. The woman begins to get visions of the wife and her final days; is she becoming possessed by the dead wife of the pianist?

James Mason not only starred in this one, but he produced it and wrote the screenplay. It’s interesting in some ways, but uneven and not really satisfying in the final analysis. Part of the problem is that it seems rather muddled; it’s really hard to say whether what is happening is supernatural or psychological, and the movie doesn’t really make that ambiguity compelling. It does give Mason some good dramatic moments, especially at the climax when he plays the piano with the words of his dead wife’s last letter running through his head. Ultimately, though, it’s hard to feel anything about most of the other characters, and this drags the movie down. Still, this one has been sitting on my list for quite a while, and I thought it might be destined to go on my “ones that got away” list; I’m glad to have had a chance to see it.


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