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4.6 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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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

Special Features

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

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:
    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 (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0008ENICA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,506 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Possessed" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
"Possessed"(1947) is the second and latest film noir classic upgraded to Blu-ray through the Warner Archive Collection following the superb "Out of the Past"(1947) a few months ago and should please fans of both the film and Joan Crawford. Crawford is simply outstanding in her role as Louise Howell, an unstable and frustrated woman driven into mental illness(schizophrenia) by her obsessive love for her ex-lover(Van Heflin). To prepare for the role, Crawford visited mental wards and talked to psychiatrists and gives one of the best performances(Oscar nominated) of her long career. The look and mood of the film is evident from the opening scene which has a haggard looking Crawford(with no make-up) walking dazed through the empty streets of Los Angeles starkly photographed by cinematographer Joseph Valentine. Valentine's cinematography is given new life on Blu-ray despite the fact that some of the original film elements appear to have faded which is understandable for a film that's 67 years old. This is especially evident in some of the darker interior scenes but for the most part this a very pleasing Blu-ray presentation with no vertical lines, torn frames, dirt, white specks, etc. that were very noticeable in the standard DVD version of the film. Overall, this new WAC Blu-ray is a vast improvement over that DVD which was released in 2005 as part of the "John Crawford Collection" and WAC has given it a high bitrate of 38.00. Blacks and whites are detailed and crisp for the majority of scenes but appear softer in some other scenes because of the way the film was structured by director Curtis Bernhardt. He uses an ambiguous approach to tell the story relying on present time/flashback sequences which results in a clinical psychiatric story vs. melodrama.Read more ›
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