49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
"The Three Faces of Eve" broke new ground when it was released. It was the first examination of multiple personality disorder in a dramatic setting. Joanne Woodward gives a stunning performance as Eve a southern housewife who suffers from migranes, seems in constant emotional turmoil and has memory lapses. Her psychiatrist Dr. Luther (played by the marvelous character actor Lee J. Cobb) believes he's treating a common form of depression but he's startled to discover during one of his sessions that he's not speaking with Eve but with a whole different person. Based on the famous book documenting the real case (and not a "novel" as per the DVD case) by Corbett Thigpen, MD and Harvey Cleckley MD, Nunnally Johnson's script may be a bit pedantic for audiences today but there's still powerful performances and sharp direction that makes it worthwhile.
This special edition from Fox part of its "Studio Classics" collection includes a commentary by film historian Aubrey Solomon. Solomon's commentary provides precise and fascinating tidbits about how the film varied from the book and from the real case in addition to the usual background on the production of the movie. There's also a Movietone News Reel included of the Academy Awards (Joanne Woodward won for Best Actress). The original theatrical trailer is included and the restored image and sound are quite good.
Well worth picking up for fans of classic Hollywood movies from the 50's. My only complaint is Fox should have done a featurette on the making of the movie with interviews of Woodward and others and/or an alternate commentary track from the actress discussing the making of the movie.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2001
Joanne Woodward gets one of those roles that most actresses must dream about - the opportunity to play a character with three distinct personalities. The film centres on this woman's attempt to regain her life with the assistance of a psychiatrist played by Lee J. Cobb. Woodward does a very good job of creating various personalities and balancing the role. I wish I knew more about multiple personalities and psychiatry to know how accurate the film is, because I found parts of it hard to believe. The way the hypnosis is presented seems to me to be far too easy and simple, and to be honest, we don't actually get to see very much of how the doctor helped the young woman. If you look to the film less as a case study and more as a piece of drama, you will find much to enjoy about it. And regardless of how factual and accurate it is, The Three Faces of Eve was an important step in presenting mental illness to the public, and for that reason also, it deserves to be seen.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
THE THREE FACES OF EVE remains to this day a riveting and fascinating glimpse into the mind of a person afflicted with multiple personality disorder, with Joanne Woodward in her Academy Award-winning tour-de-force.
The story concerns a meek young married woman called Eve White (Joanne Woodward) who begins to have regular consultations with Dr Luther (Lee J. Cobb) when she starts experiencing moments of blackout and amnesia, which are later discovered to be the manifestations of multiple personality disorder. When Eve White passes out, the more-seductive and confident Eve Black emerges and wreaks her own kind of havoc. Then there is the third personality, the well-grounded and assured Jane. All three fight for the ultimate and permanent control of Eve White's body, but only one will win...
Joanne Woodward's performance is truly phenomenal. She deserved her Oscar win and then some. Lee J. Cobb is fantastic as the patient Dr Luther with David Wayne as Eve White's bewildered husband. This was based on the well-documented medical case of Chris Costner-Sizemore, a woman with several fragmented personalities who later successfully recovered from her illness. The bulk of the dialogue comes verbatim from the original medical case-notes by Corbett H. Thigpen MD and Hervey M. Cleckley MD.
Also featuring Edwin Jerome, Nancy Kulp and Douglas Spencer. (Single-sided, dual-layer disc).
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 1999
Yes, I love this little gem of a film that inspired my interest in the wonders of the human mind. Joanne Woodward has my vote for Best Actress with the only flaw in the film being parts of the script and the questionable casting of David Wayne as the dim-witted husband who refuses to accept his wife's disorder. It always earns rave reviews here on campus and several of my fellow students ask to see it and study it for psychology class and to get an introduction into the life of a multiple personality case. It's already a fave among the teachers and staff here. This is the perfect companion to the film "Sybil" and I hope it's released again on video soon.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2000
The film is effective as an introduction into the realm of multiple personality disorder, but that's as far as it goes. Joanne Woodward is functional in the role, but I agree that it is in no way an Oscar performance. I have also witnessed multiple personality change under clinical conditions, and the person does not change in any dramatic fashion (like the lowering of the head). It's an imperceptible change at first. I read that Joanne Woodward studied film of Eve White's real life counterpart going through the change. She said there was no obvious physical punctuation whenever the other peronalities came out, and that she wanted to play it that way. According to the article, the studio wanted the lowering of the head, etc. so that the audience wouldn't become confused whenever a change occured. No faith in the public. David Wayne is superb in his role, and I feel he is underrated in the part. I've known people like his character, and he was right on the mark with his performance. His role is easy to get lost in the overall dramatic screenplay. It's a brave film that enters relative virgin territory. It held my interest.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2005
I find this film a classic gem. It stars Lee J. Cobb (psychiatrist), Joanne Woodward (Eve White, Eve Black, and Jane), and David Wayne (Eve White's Husband) in some of their finest work. Joanne deserves best-actress Oscar 1957 for this performance.
David Wayne gave a strong performance as the long-suffering husband. He reminds me of my father, a retired career sergeant. Today, and only in the United States, men are almost totally opposite this character, and much less (he's been beaten beyond recognition by political correctness).
This movie is remarkable in its treatment of a true story of a woman named Eve White, traumatized as a child, who split into two alternate personalities named Eve Black and later Jane. Thus, we have Eve White, Eve Black, and Jane, respectively: a bland, docile girl; a party girl; and a normal girl (or rather a balance of the former two). But, it turns out, it was really the personality Jane, who was the real Eve White/Eve Black.
Through the care and expertise (particularly hypnosis) of the doctor (Lee Cobb), the psychotic trio resolved the maddening issue of whose body it is when Jane "remembered" the childhood that neither Eve White nor Eve Black could. It was Jane, as the child Eve, being forced to kiss the dead maternal grandmother that precipitated all this evil. Eve White attempted sublimation with each new personality; it just only got worse.
Simply put, Jane (Eve's real ego) was the one who suffered the pivotal trauma. Then the real ego buried itself first under Eve Black, then under Jane. Haply, Jane, the real ego, outlived them all.
A must see for film aficionados. Although, this is a verified true story, it is also "fictionalized" by Hollywood to reach the masses. As a clinical study, it would not have gotten made. But as roman a clef, it won a best-actress Oscar, and brought mental illness and women's issues to the light. If you are skeptical, watch the DVD commentary, it'll fill in gaps in credibility.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2004
I just wanted to clear one thing up. An earlier review was titled something like "Groundbreaking Hollywood treatment of schizophrenia". I'm sorry if I quoted that incorrectly. However, this movie is about multiple personalities, not schizophrenia. They are two entirely different mental illnesses and should not be confused. This show is about a woman with mulitple personalities. Wonderful acting and a very engrossing movie!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2002
This compelling drama centers around superb performances by Joanne Woodward and Lee J. Cobb. The unusual nature of the story is introduced and explained by (a very young!) Alistair Cooke, and that setting prepares viewers for what is to come. Because this presentation is art, not news reporting, the film may not always be exactly true to the "real story." Fine art takes purposeful liberties with reality, and this film is certainly a fine example of cinema art. Engrossing, entertaining, and enlightening! Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the finest movies of Joanne Woodward in which she performs the role of a housewife torn between three contrasting personalities; Eve White, Eve Black and Jane. This is a real life story about multiple personality disorder suffered by Chris Costner Sizemore of South Carolina, and diagnosed by Drs. Corbett H. Thigpen, and Hervey M. Cleckley. This story was brilliantly adapted for the screen by the work of Nunnally Johnson, who also wrote for such classics as: How to Marry a Millionaire, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, and We're not Married.
Woodward plays the role of socially repressed Eve White, a housewife and mother of a daughter, Bonnie White (Terry Ann Ross). The second personality is the oversexed Eve Black, clad in sexy bras, and short skirts, drinking, smoking, and always ready for fun at the local bar; and the third person called Jane who is relatively normal. The viewers see a metamorphosis in Eve White who changes from perfect housewife to a downright difficult lady. The real drama unfolds in the offices of Dr. Curtis Luther (Lee Cobb) who methodically investigates the psychological disorder of his patient and comes to the conclusion that Eve suffers from the split personalities of three contrasting women. There is a great deal of drama when the viewers see Eve strangling her only daughter when she "appears" as Eve Black (Eve Black considers that is not her child). The constant fights and domestic problems with her husband Ralph White (David Wayne), and his visits to see her at the psychiatric hospital are very moving. When she is resident of the state facility for mentally disturbed, we find more of the irresponsible and selfish nature of Eve Black who hangs out in the bars, picks men and finally disappoints them, no matter how much it hurts them. In almost all instances we see the appearance of conservative Eve White after Eve black transforms herself; that is, when she sobers of and tries to understand what has happened, and feel embarrassed that she is sitting in the bar in skimpy clothes.
There is an interesting history behind casting. When director Nunnally Johnson's tried to cast actress Jennifer Jones for the leading role; she confessed being terrified of the part. June Allyson simply refused to play, and Judy Garland at first agreed to take part in the movie, but when saw the actual films of Chris Sizemore undergoing psychotherapy, and transformation to split personalities, she got scared. Joanne Woodward read the script on the train from New York to Los Angeles and confessed that she was so afraid of the role she almost returned to New York. Johnson wanted to have Sizemore interviewed for the movie, but her psychiatrists said that she was not ready for the experience. Sizemore continued to manifest new personalities after her supposed cure, up to 22 personalities in all, until 1970s. She did not see the film until 1974, and she found it moving and praised the performance of Joanne Woodward.
There are many situations that are close to the real story. Just as Chris Sizemore had displayed in her therapy, Woodward used a Southern accent for the two Eves and dropped this accent when she became Jane. One change Johnson suggested was making the transformations slowly than Sizemore had actually experienced in the real life. During therapy, Sizemore switched personalities fairly quickly, but the director felt that would not be believable to a movie audience unfamiliar with multiple personality disorder. Each event is chronicled accurately, and as the years in which it all took place pass, viewers see personalities appear and disappear, and transform to one another. One thing that is overlooked over the years in many reviews is the brilliant portrayal of Dr. Luther by Lee Cobb, who has offered brilliant performance and strongly complements the fine work of Woodward.
The Chris Costner Sizemore Papers span the time period 1952-1989, with the bulk of the papers dating between 1956 and 1979. These are currently available at the Duke University library (Duke.edu). The collection consists largely of correspondence; diaries and writings by Sizemore; clippings centered on film and book promotions and speaking engagements. The papers provide an in-depth look into the life of a woman with a rare disorder who later came to clearly articulate her life to the public.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2005
The three faces of Eve is the true story of a woman by the name of Eve White (aka Eve Black, and Jane) who is married and has a child. Eve starts having what she thinks are "blackouts," but eventually learns that she has a split personality. The movie tells the story of Eve's journey to a psychiatrist who helps her determine who the personalities are and how they came to inhabit her body. During the exploration, Eve loses a husband and her child, but then gains a different husband and her child in the end. The fact that this movie is based on a real-life person makes the film all the more compelling.
Joanne Woodward plays the part of Eve, Eve and Jane, and she was unbelievable in this film! Joanne won the academy award in 1957 for her stellar and haunting performance.
The supporting cast is also very good. The film is in black and white. The direction is brisk and the film flows smoothly from scene to scene. The sets are uncluttered and "comfortable."
This movie is superb, and you should definitely add this to your collection!