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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 (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0008ENICA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,583 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


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.
Thomas F. Lath.
This film is one of those rare noirs that rises above a mere genre into the realm of art.
This is a superlative film in which Joan Crawford gives the performance of a lifetime.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Vincent E. on April 11, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
By May of 1946, Joan Crawford had seen her film career revived by the release of "MILDRED PIERCE", her first starring role since leaving M.G.M studios after 18 star studded years.
Crawford assended even further when she recieved the Academy Award as Best Actress. A renewed, lucrative contract with Warner Bros. studios quickly followed, under which she completed some of her finest films.
"POSSESSED", written and produced by the same team which created "MILDRED PIERCE", began filming two months after she recieved the Academy Award. It is perhaps because of this sudden burst of praise, that Crawford was able to tap deeper into her talents and deliver first rate performances in the three films she made during this period.
In portraying Louise Howell in "POSSESSED", Crawford gave what was arguable the most vivid and well crafted performance of her 81 film career. As a mentally unbalanced private Nurse involved in a one way love affair, Crawford dominates the film, but doesn't push her co-stars out of the frame. Instead, she works with them to help her create a portrait of a schizophrenic woman teetering on the edge of self destruction.
Her descent into madness is slow, but evident from the start. Every detail of this production is geared torwards creating an atmosphere of despair and lunacy (In the wedding scene, Crawford's black wedding suit is adorned with various straps making it seem almost like a black strait-jacket).
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