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