***We're looking for contributors***

POSSESSED Review - Joan Crawford, Van Heflin Curtis Bernhardt

POSSESSED (1947)

Dir.: Curtis Bernhardt

Cast: Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey, Geraldine Brooks, Stanley Ridges, John Ridgely, Moroni Olsen

Scr.: Silvia Richards and Ranald MacDougall; from a story by Rita Weiman

Van Heflin, Joan Crawford in Possessed
Van Heflin, Joan Crawford, Possessed

From the moment we see her shuffling across town in a comatose stupor to the homicidal climax, Possessed is Joan Crawford's picture all the way. And once you get past some of its contrived psychobabble, this Curtis Bernhardt-directed melodrama is also one of her best. [Note: Spoilers ahead.]

In Possessed, Crawford plays Louise Howell, a private-duty nurse inexplicably obsessed with David Sutton, a cynical, hard-drinking mechanical engineer played by Van Heflin. That brings up my biggest objection to Possessed: the casting of the bland Heflin in a role that required an actor with a certain amount of animal magnetism. This viewer, for one, was unable to understand what made him put the starch in her ankle-strap pumps. Someone with sex appeal, for instance, Richard Widmark, would have been infinitely more appropriate.

That said, Possessed offers a gripping narrative (screenplay by Silvia Richards and Ranald MacDougall, from a story by Rita Weiman) and excellent production values, while Curtis Bernhardt is in top form. The film, in fact, is a believable portrayal of a woman obsessed with a man who rejects her – except, that is, for its intermittent psychobabble: at one point in Possessed, Louise is given the same I.V. concoction – to induce a confessional – that she would give to Trog some 23 years later. Only, Louise doesn't think about dinosaurs; instead, she remembers the circumstances that caused her mental breakdown.

Now, I was bothered by David's continuous taunting of Louise, even after she marries someone else so as to try to forget him. In fact, David is such a nasty slob that he fully deserves what he eventually gets. The problem I have with that conclusion is that we never really know what will happen to Louise. The doctor says she is not responsible for her actions, and she has already suffered enough. That's it.

I guess it's just too bad about David.

© Danny Fortune

Note: This is not to be confused with a totally unrelated 1931 Joan Crawford vehicle of the same name. A version of this Possessed review was initially posted in May 2008.

1 Academy Award Nomination

Best Actress: Joan Crawford

If you liked the article POSSESSED Review - Joan Crawford, Van Heflin Curtis Bernhardt, please recommend it to your friends. See floating share buttons on the left.
Follow Alt Film Guide on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

Continue Reading: Robert Pattinson & Chris Pine: 'Akira' Casting Possibilities

Previous Post: THE GANG'S ALL HERE Review - Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda Busby Berkeley

POSSESSED Review - Joan Crawford, Van Heflin Curtis Bernhardt © 2004–2016 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Leave a comment about 'POSSESSED Review - Joan Crawford, Van Heflin Curtis Bernhardt'

Important: It's perfectly fine to disagree with our own and/or other commenters' views and opinions, but thoughtfulness and at least a modicum of sanity are imperative.

In other words: Spammy, rude/abusive, bigoted, baseless (spreading misinformation), trollish/inflammatory, and/or just plain demented comments will be zapped and offenders may be banned.

Additionally, bear in mind that a) harassment will not be tolerated b) links found in comments will generally be deleted.

Most recent comments listed on top.

2 Comments to POSSESSED Review - Joan Crawford, Van Heflin Curtis Bernhardt

  1. Jade

    Isn't Widmark your type? I think Van Heflin was pretty sexy and like the unlikely casting choice. Besides one man's trash……

  2. hollywood revue

    oh, I love it when Joan Crawford goes crazy in a movie.