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Lana Turner Still Straying Into the 60's


By Love Possessed (1961) Plows Familiar Ground

This melodrama gets a bad rap not altogether deserved, being directed by John Sturges between pictures better remembered (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape) and produced by Walter Mirisch, who knocks it in his memoir, I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History. Sudsy shows get no respect, unless Doug Sirk directs, the rest  perishable with spoilage long factored in. Mirisch tended not to like ones that lost money, By Love Possessed good for only $1.7 million, which had to disappoint after better $ got for previous Lana Turner pics. She actually cedes center stage to accomplished work by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., whose showcase this ends up being. Mirisch says that Turner kept monkeying with the script, so much so that writer Charles Schnee asked to have his name taken off (the credit reads "John Dennis"). I'd like knowing what contributions Lana made to dialogue for any of her films, and that's not sarcastic inquiry. We tend to think stars are too habitually dumb to do anything other than damage screenplays --- is that true or mere myth? Guess it depends on who's applying a blue pencil. By Love Possessed has a New England (as in repressed) setting as with Peyton Place, seemingly same autumn leaves blowing amongst tortured citizenry. Small-town hypocrisy has another airing --- when was that formula finally abandoned? This was penultimate role for Thomas Mitchell; I couldn't tell if it was him or the character that's palsied to point of barely holding cup and saucer. George Hamilton contributes another in his line of weakling sons, the part a photo finish on work done a year before in Home From The Hill. Yvonne Craig is a liveliest wire as the town trollop. By Love Possessed turns up on TCM and elsewhere in gratifying 1.85, and is enjoyable for what it is.


This post first appeared on Greenbriar Picture Shows, please read the originial post: here

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Lana Turner Still Straying Into the 60's

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