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Daisy Kenyon (Fox Film Noir)

4.0 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A fashion artist juggles romances with a naval architect and a married New York lawyer. Directed by Otto Preminger.


Otto Preminger's Daisy Kenyon is an unsung beauty from Hollywood's golden age, a remarkably good and intelligent movie that's all the more gratifying because it could so easily have come out formulaic and sappy. In 1947 it was regarded (and implicitly shrugged off) as a "women's picture" or, more specifically, a "Joan Crawford picture." But there's more going on here. This was shortly after the Oscar for Mildred Pierce revived the actress's career, and the nature of a Crawford picture was changing since she had entered her (gasp) 40s. New York careerwoman Daisy (a magazine illustrator) is trying to break off her longtime affair with a high-profile lawyer and family man (Dana Andrews), and tentatively beginning a relationship with an attractive WWII veteran and widower (Henry Fonda). The men's roles are as important as Crawford's, and neither man is entirely what he first seems--Andrews a self-centered manipulator in all arenas, Fonda a poetic New Englander who used to design boats. Enough ambivalence, wounded psyches, and intimate violence surface to make the movie a kissing cousin to film noir... albeit a variation of noir in which no gun is pulled. Noir also leaks in through the gorgeous Fox craftsmanship. Leon Shamroy's lustrous lighting paints the characters and their studio-made, persuasively three-dimensional environs with insinuating shadow, while still serving director Preminger's penchant for fluid camerawork and mise-en-scène that doesn't dictate our attitudes toward the characters. The production is a model of Hollywood professionalism at every level, and the three star performances are each atypical and complex, with Crawford more restrained and thoughtful than we're accustomed to seeing her. And speaking of model performances, plan to rewatch the film while listening to the commentary by Foster Hirsch, author of the excellent critical biography, Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King; Hirsch is especially sharp on Preminger's stylistic choices and the underappreciated Dana Andrews. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

  • Commentary by film noir historian Foster Hirsch
  • From Journeyman to Artist: Otto Preminger at Twentieth Century Fox
  • Life in the Shadows: The Making of Daisy Kenyon
  • Interactive pressbook
  • Still galleries
  • Original theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews, Henry Fonda, Ruth Warrick, Martha Stewart
  • Directors: Otto Preminger
  • Writers: David Hertz, Elizabeth Janeway
  • Producers: Otto Preminger
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, Subtitled, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • 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:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0010KHOSK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,701 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Daisy Kenyon (Fox Film Noir)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By calvinnme HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 28, 2007
Format: DVD
I think this film and 1947's "Possessed" are my favorite two films from the middle part of Joan Crawford's career.

I realize Fox did make lots of great film noirs in the 1940's, but they're just about all on DVD now, and so now Fox is labeling some movies as film noir that really aren't at all, probably partially as a marketing strategy. Film noir usually involves a situation that must end in tragedy of some kind and involves characters that are all unlikeable and unsympathetic. This is really not the case here. This film is a great vehicle for Joan Crawford, though. In fact, I can't imagine any other actress in the lead. Daisy Kenyon (Joan Crawford) plays a commercial artist who is the strong independent type. She has fallen in love with a married man of means (Dana Andrews) who has a clingy and emotionally unstable wife (Ruth Warrick) and a couple of daughters that he knows he will lose access to if he gets a divorce. In other words, he is permanently married and he and Daisy's relationship is going nowhere. Enter Peter Lapham (Henry Fonda), a widower recently back from World War II. Both men love Daisy, but only one can "do right" by her - Peter. Unfortunately, he is not the man she loves.

The resulting love triangle, the idea of any of this being particularly scandalous even to someone aiming for public life, and in particular the then quite backwards divorce laws of the state of New York might seem quaint to a modern audience, but the private situations and emotions of the characters still ring true. Who does Daisy choose in the end? The man willing to give her up. I'll let you watch the film and find out which of the two men that is.
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Format: DVD
Released on Christmas Day 1947, "Daisy Kenyon" has become a favorite among Joan's devoted followers. Because "Daisy Kenyon" is just as beautiful as any of Joan's other Oscar-nominated roles. But, perhaps overshadowed by that other hugely successful film coming out in '47, Possessed, at the time of its release "Daisy Kenyon" had little fanfare. Unfortunately, up until now this movie has never been released on DVD (not even on VHS or the dreaded LaserDisc!) And since this film isn't licensed to Turner it has never even been shown on TCM (good luck trying to find anything halfway edible on AMC or the even more obscure Fox Movie Channel.) So, for the passed 60 years "Daisy Kenyon" has been left in a rather befuddled and unreachable halfway point; somewhere between purgatory and paradise.

The tagline for this classic 20th Century-Fox picture is: "I don't belong to any man." And doesn't that describe Daisy Kenyon perfectly; not to mention the always in-control Joan Crawford...! Both Joan and Daisy set their own rules and made certain that all the boys in their lives always followed them! Joan portrays the lead title-role of Daisy Kenyon astutely. Because she is so believable in this dramatic masterpiece. And, this time Miss Crawford's character, Daisy, has both experience and intelligence on her side!

The film is in black and white and is 100 minutes long. (BTW the picture color might seem rather obvious since 99.99% of Miss Crawford's movies from the 20's, 30's and 40's are not in color. However, I always like to state this because there is an entirely new generation of younger fans who may not realize this!
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Format: DVD
As the previous reviewer correctly notes, this film is most certainly NOT a film noir, not even close to one!!! Joan Crawford was in some great film noirs, such as 'Mildred Pierce' 'Possessed' and 'Flamingo Road'. 'The Damned Don't Cry' has some strong noir elements as well. Both FR and DDC are aided by strong male co-star performances, and are both more edgy, dark, and complex than 'Daisy Kenyon'. DK is a solid film for Crawford and her two co-stars, Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews, and no doubt pushed the envelope in its day with the racey love triangle/adultery plot line, but the result is still pretty conventional and predictable. There are many Crawford films I prefer to this one, including the ones noted above, as well as Humoresque and A Woman's Face, but DK is one you don't want to miss if you are a fan of hers. Her portrayal is complex and rich, and you really feel her process of working through an interior struggle as she juggles the two men in her life and her own career development. The character is much more whole, stronger, and stable than the women she portrays in the film noirs or dramas noted above, and she has more of her own internal rudder, so she is less dependent on men or circumstances to define who she is as a person and what her fate will be. In that sense, this film becomes more hopeful and less dark, tawdry, and grim than the others, so it might be more enjoyable to many viewers.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Daisy Kenyon (Joan Crawford) is a successful, single commercial artist living in Manhattan with a roommate, Mary (Martha Stewart), and carrying on an affair with married bigshot lawyer Dan O'Meara (Dana Andrews) while also being romanced by traumatized war veteran Peter Lapham (Henry Fonda). When Dan early on can't commit to calling off his marriage to his unhappy wife Lucille (Ruth Warrick), Daisy in frustration decides to marry Peter, though both she and Peter realize that she's not really in love with him. They move out to Cape Cod, but Dan is having problems at home - Lucille finds out and wants to divorce him, but she's also taking out her frustrations on their teenage daughters, which frightens and saddens Dan, and he's in the midst of a difficult case. Meanwhile Peter seems ready to just give Daisy up, should she give the word...

Otto Preminger's 1947 black-and-white, shadowy and sharp-angled picture is shot like a film noir, at times feels like it's heading into noir territory - we wonder at first if Fonda's unstable, obsessive character will take the road of violence in his passion, and Lucille O'Mara is also struggling with some mental issues and seems capable of taking the dark path - but interestingly, and refreshingly, the film never does more than strongly hint of these possibilities, instead at every point taking on the difficult and adult challenges posed by these complex human interactions. All of the characters come off as believable and sympathetic - even the abusive Lucille clearly is taking out her frustrations the only way she feels she can, and apparent heel Dan turns out to be much more vulnerable and torn apart than his buddy-buddy joking (he calls everybody "sugarplum" or "honeybunch") would at first indicate.
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