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Joan Crawford in POSSESSED (1947)


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The film aired on TCM this morning. I had never seen it before. It is equal to MILDRED PIERCE in my opinion. The production values, the direction, Joan's performance...the storyline...it's all so intense and engrossing.

 

I think if Raymond Massey had greater marquee value his name would've appeared with Crawford's over the beginning of the film. Van Heflin seems to play a supporting role, gone for stretches of time during the narrative. I found Massey to be more the lead than Heflin.

 

My favorite scene was when Louise (Crawford) goes back to the country house and hears the sound box buzzing. Then, she goes upstairs and thinks she sees her dead employer. When her husband (Massey) goes up and finds her, she completely loses it. Then, in a sudden about-turn, she is okay again and goes out for a night of dancing and dinner. I think those few minutes on screen show how versatile Crawford was and how much in control of the character's emotions she was...Some say she was not acting, but merely showing up on the set and playing herself. I don't agree. I think she's one of the most precise actresses of her era. In fact she's so good that it looks like she's not acting.

 

A final comment: the screenplay had been developed with Bette Davis in mind. Could Davis have pulled off this part? Easily. But I think it would've had a slightly different feel to it if Davis had been in it. The chemistry with Massey and Heflin would've been different, and there would've been more of a sense that Bette, as Louise, ran the house. With Crawford, Louise seems like an inconvenienced woman who causes inconvenience for others by simply getting in the way of their lives. She plays it as more of an outsider than I think Davis would've done. Again, I think it's a superb performance and a superb film.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I liked it! I like stories about tormented people. In fact, most of the dark crime dramas are exactly that. I get a lot of recommendations from threads like this. People post comments. I rent the movie. Funny how that works!

 

I like Joan more all the time. She's not my favorite actress. But she had courage. She played unflattering roles. Seemed to accept that she wouldn't be young forever. Played nice as well as whack job. Good range.

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Glad you had the chance to see it.

 

TCM is going to broadcast THE CARETAKERS on March 29. She plays a sadistic psychiatric nurse in that one. LOL It costars Robert Stack, Janis Paige and Herbert Marshall in a bit role. I haven't seen it yet...but I think it's a combination of melodrama and horror.

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