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Possessed


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Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey, Geraldine Brooks, Stanley Ridges
  • Directors: Curtis Bernhardt
  • Writers: Ranald MacDougall, Rita Weiman, Silvia Richards
  • Producers: Jack L. Warner, Jerry Wald
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 14, 2005
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0008ENICA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,333 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Possessed" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by Film Historian Drew Casper
  • New Featurette Possessed: The Quintessential Film Noir
  • Theatrical Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

She loves him when he goes away for months. She loves him when he refuses to marry her. But when callow David Sutton chooses to marry someone else, Louise Howell's love for him takes a darker turn. Give her a gun and she'll love him to death. Joan Crawford reteams with producer Jerry Wald of her Academy Award winning Mildred Pierce and claims a 1947 Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of tempestuous, mentally unstable Louise. ??I love you? is such an inadequate way of saying I love you, Louise says. It doesn't quite describe how much it hurts sometimes. With Crawford at her film-noir-queen best, be assured it hurts so good.

DVD Features:Audio Commentary:Commentary by Film Historian Drew CasperFeaturette:New Featurette The Quintessential Film Noir

Amazon.com

The opening shots of Possessed achieve their goal: it is startling to see Joan Crawford wandering around without makeup, her hair drawn plainly back, in the early dawn of a grungily real location. Her unbalanced character, Louise, has been traumatized and must now recount her nightmare, in true film noir fashion, to a questioning psychoanalyst.

Possessed has an abundance of noir atmosphere (everything gets to be as shadowy as the inside of Louise's brain) and a full ration of Crawford at her most florid. The story is a wild ride: an invalid wife, a lonely widower, a daughter resentful of former nurse Louise's new status in the household. Plus there's the true crazy-making love of Louise's life, an engineer (Van Heflin) whose heart is as dry as his manner is breezy ("When a woman kisses me, Louise, she has to take pot luck"). The film's overripe writing is balanced by Joseph Valentine's sharp-angled photography, to say nothing of the vectors of Joan Crawford's sharp-angled face. As a companion piece to Crawford's Mildred Pierce performance, this one takes Mildred to her extreme--single-minded obsession and derangement. What Crawford lacked in subtlety she made up for in sheer commitment, which perhaps suits this character very well. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

You feel for all of them, and the hope is that all will end well eventually.
ACrawfordFan
This film is one of those rare noirs that rises above a mere genre into the realm of art.
Flitcraft
This is a superlative film in which Joan Crawford gives the performance of a lifetime.
Lawyeraau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 21, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This is a superlative film in which Joan Crawford gives the performance of a lifetime. This 1947 film opens with an disoriented woman (Joan Crawford) wandering the streets of Los Angeles and searching for someone named David. She is ultimately brought to the psychiatric ward of a hospital for evaluation, after she collapses. She is now catatonic.
The film then flashes back to those events that brought her to that state. It turns out that she is Louise Howell. She had an affair with David Sutton (Van Heflin), a man who treated her badly and did not return her love. For him, she was just a fling, while for her, he was more, much more. She smothered him and obsessed over him. This is the beginning of her slow descent into another reality.
Her marriage to a wealthy man (Raymon Massey) sets into motion a series of events that over time cause Louise's already tenuous grip on reality to loosen even more. Louise's obsession with her former lover finally takes her over the edge into the unchartered territory of a paranoid schitzophrenic with most unfortunate consequences for David.
Ms. Crawford's performance of a woman descending into the snakepit of madness is a wonder to behold. One senses her tenuous grip on reality. One feels her face life with trepidation, and her fear and confusion is palpable. This is certainly one of Ms. Crawford's best and most poignant performances. The viewer gets the sense that Ms. Crawford poured her heart and soul into this magnificent performance.
Joan Crawford fans and lovers of classic movies will enjoy this engrossing film.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Simon Davis on January 16, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Any of the numerous detractors who complain about Joan Crawford's acting ability need to watch a screening of the Warner Bros Noir classic "Possessed". I'm sure they will be pleasantly pleased by the wonderful range of ability displayed by Joan in what is without a doubt one of her finest performances during the 1940's.
Often overshadowed by her wonderful performance in her first Warner film in 1945 "Mildred Pierce", for which she won an Oscar as Best Actress, "Possessed" involved a far more difficult acting task for Joan Crawford in a role that had numerous layers of complexity dealing as it did with the tragic issue of schizophrenia and its effects on the mind. Crawford rises admirably to the task and received a second Academy Award nomination for her work here. "Possessed" (not to be confused with an earlier film of the same name that Joan made costarring Clark Gable at MGM in the 1930's) tells the story of a personal nurse Louise Howell who suffers through a one sided love affair with David Sutton (Van Heflin in a stand out performance) an eternal bachelor type who is not willing to commit to an ongoing relationship and treats Louise with a dimissive attitude that feeds her inner uncertainity. The tragic consequences of this lack of love in Louise's life eventually leds to murder and a total mental breakdown with her being taken to a psychiatric hospital. Despite eventually marrying the husband (Raymond Massey), of her sick charge after her death as a form of compensation the obsession with David never leaves Louise and when he returns to her part of the world after working in Canada the old attraction that Louise thought she had buried forever returns with tragic results.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By chad edwards on September 13, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
A nurse's obsession for a womanizing-heel nearly ruins her life and the lives of those around her. This dark, disturbing drama was the FATAL ATTRACTION of the 1940's, and while Crawford doesn't boil any bunnies, she's no less terrifying. In fact, I would venture to say that this is Crawford's finest hour. Her character is on the screen for most of the film's two hours, and she's believable and effective every moment. As much as I loved her in MILDRED PIERCE, I must say that Crawford should have won the Best Actress Oscar for this one. Crawford said in a later interview:"I worked harder on POSSESSED than any film I made", and it shows. POSSESSED features the glamorous star's richest, most powerful performance to date. A must, but don't confuse this film with the similarly titled 1931 movie which also stars Joan Crawford.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nelson Aspen on June 17, 2005
Format: DVD
This excellent drama has it all...high drama, great performances, clever storyline, beautiful art direction and La Crawford at her scene-stealing best. Really great and handsomely preserved here on DVD.

There's a neat little featuerette about its place in Film Noir, but unfortunately the professorial commentary track from a USC Film School staffer is over the top. He constantly refers to it as a "discussion" (how can ONE person have a discussion!? It's a 108 minute MONOLOGUE...he barely takes a breath) but it's more like his dissertation on the genre. He is, however, a brainy buff and his bites within the context of the overall collection are certainly worthwhile.

A classic picture you will enjoy seeing...Massey and Heflin keep up with Crawford, who operates on all engines throughout and never misses a moment to show how great she could be!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Karen Sampson Hudson on August 30, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Joan Crawford said that the role of the nurse, Louise, in "Possessed" was the most emotionally and psychologically demanding she undertook in her long career. This is a satisfying potboiler of a 1940s movie with themes of love (of course!),jealousy, guilt, obsession and murder. Crawford's Louise is a calm, quiet, very competent and tactful nurse whose foiled love affair unbalances her to the core. Van Heflin plays a rather sardonic, heartless type; Raymond Massey turns in a fine performance as a wealthy man who falls in love with Louise and marries her.
Joan Crawford fans will relish this movie, which deserves a high ranking among 1940s era films. Highly recommended.
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