7.2/10
4,263
72 user 38 critic

Possessed (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 26 July 1947 (USA)
After being found wandering the streets of Los Angeles, a severely catatonic woman tells a doctor the complex story of how she wound up there.

Director:

Curtis Bernhardt

Writers:

Silvia Richards (screenplay), Ranald MacDougall (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Possessed (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An ambitious factory girl meets a handsome, wealthy lawyer, but he's interested in her as a mistress, not a wife.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Wallace Ford
Sudden Fear (1952)
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After an ambitious actor insinuates himself into the life of a wealthy middle-aged playwright and marries her, he plots with his mistress to murder her.

Director: David Miller
Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A New York socialite climbs the ladder of success man by man until a life among rich gangsters gives her what she thought she always wanted.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Joan Crawford, David Brian, Steve Cochran
Humoresque (1946)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A classical musician from the slums is sidetracked by his love for a wealthy, neurotic socialite.

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Joan Crawford, John Garfield, Oscar Levant
Daisy Kenyon (1947)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A commercial artist having an affair with a married attorney becomes involved with a returning soldier and must choose between the two.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews, Henry Fonda
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Moving into a beach house involves Lynn Markham in mystery, danger, and romance with a beach boy of dubious motives.

Director: Joseph Pevney
Stars: Joan Crawford, Jeff Chandler, Jan Sterling
Queen Bee (1955)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young woman arrives at the home of her socialite cousin, and soon finds herself sucked into the woman's complex web of deceit.

Director: Ranald MacDougall
Stars: Joan Crawford, Barry Sullivan, Betsy Palmer
Autumn Leaves (1956)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Millicent Wetherby is a middle-aged woman whose life is devoid of love and affection. Millicent's solitary existence changes when she encounters Burt Hansen a charismatic younger man. As ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Joan Crawford, Cliff Robertson, Vera Miles
Flamingo Road (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A small town corrupt sheriff manipulates local candidates to the state legislature but he eventually comes into conflict with a visiting carnival dancer.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Joan Crawford, Zachary Scott, Sydney Greenstreet
Harriet Craig (1950)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Domineering Harriet Craig holds more regard for her home and its possessions than she does for any person in her life. Among those she treats like household objects are her kind husband ... See full summary »

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Joan Crawford, Wendell Corey, Lucile Watson
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott
Sadie McKee (1934)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A working girl's fortunes improve when she marries into money, but happiness is not so easily won.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Joan Crawford, Gene Raymond, Franchot Tone
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Crawford ... Louise Howell Graham
Van Heflin ... David Sutton
Raymond Massey ... Dean Graham
Geraldine Brooks ... Carol Graham
Stanley Ridges ... Dr. Harvey Willard
John Ridgely ... Harker
Moroni Olsen ... Dr. Ames
Erskine Sanford ... Dr. Max Sherman
Peter Miles ... Wynn Graham (as Gerald Perreau)
Jakob Gimpel Jakob Gimpel ... Pianist (as Jacob Gimpel)
Isabel Withers Isabel Withers ... Nurse Rosen
Lisa Golm ... Elsie
Douglas Kennedy ... Asst. District Attorney
Monte Blue ... Norris
Don McGuire ... Dr. Craig
Edit

Storyline

A woman wanders the streets of Los Angeles in some sort of emotional distress. She is also under some delusion as she approaches many men, strangers who she calls "David". Eventually, an ambulance is called, the attendants who take her to the hospital, where she is eventually placed in the psychiatric ward. Placing her under some medication to help her remember, Dr. Harvey Willard, the psychiatrist on duty, is able to get some semblance of a story out of her over the ensuing days. This phase of her life begins just over a year ago when she, single RN Louise Howell, is under the employ of wealthy Dean Graham to take care of his chronically ill and largely bedridden wife, Pauline Graham, at their lake house outside of Washington, DC. Due to her circumstances, Pauline believes that Dean and Louise are carrying on an affair behind her back. Louise can see that Dean does have feelings for her that way in his loneliness. The "David" in question is David Sutton, a civil engineer who lives ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In all your life you've seen no portrayals to match the thrill of the unquenchable love of Joan Crawford for Van Heflin in "Possessed". See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 July 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Secret See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,592,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Geraldine Brooks. See more »

Goofs

When Louise and Dean grab the stair banister of their townhouse on their return from the lake house, the banister shakes much more than such a solid looking structure would in reality. See more »

Quotes

Louise Howell: You'll see. I can be very objectionable.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Kisses (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Kaiserwalzer (Emperor Waltz), Op. 437
Music by Johann Strauss
Played at the wedding reception
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Muddled, yet entertaining (if slightly unbelievable) drama
26 July 2002 | by Night Must FallSee all my reviews

Another coup for Joan Crawford, 1947's Possessed (Joan co-starred with Clark Gable in a 1938 film of the same name), sees the star in a great vehicle in which to show off her many dramatic talents.

The hospital scenes are a bit over the top, and Stanley Ridges plays the psychiatric doctor a bit too eagerly. I half expected him to start wringing his hands with an Igor-type `yes, master – I think it's working, master' look on his face every time one of the drugs he gave Joan Crawford began taking effect. Ridges' performance is earnest, but his approach made me giggle more than once.

What's good about the film is its insight into issues regarding mental illness and its compassionate, non-exploitative exploration of the subject matter. This is accomplished in spite of Ridges' misguided portrayal of Dr. Willard, and due in large part to Crawford's brave, unglamorous portrayal of patient Louise Graham.

On the whole, Possessed is a very entertaining film that left me wanting to know what would happen next.

I think the death of Dean Graham's first wife is rushed and a bit muddled. Her character should have been actually introduced (even in one brief scene) rather than merely heard or talked about in flashback. Instead, there is just a big jump right into the marriage of Dean and Louise. This lack of transition really annoys me, although I can't exactly pinpoint why – I guess the whole thing just feels rushed.

Conveniently appearing and re-appearing on the scene is architect David Sutton, always around to throw Louise into a tizzy, as she cannot seem to get over the fact that he has broken off their relationship. It's difficult to understand David's appeal, as his character is extremely smarmy and smug, and he has no socially redeeming values whatsoever. To illustrate this, he shows up un-invited to Dean and Louise's wedding reception for the free food and drink. Ultimately, Dean's daughter Carol falls for him. Why, ladies??

If one can get past this implausible plot thread and take the story at face value, this is when the film really takes off, and Crawford's neurosis/psychosis picks up speed. The film improves greatly from here, and the plot advances nicely.

CAST/PERFORMANCES: Joan Crawford (Louise Howell Graham) – Crawford's transformation from personally neurotic, yet mild, unobtrusive caregiver to scheming, paranoid, jealous, unstable woman scorned is fairly believable, given the plot. I adore her voice, and the circumstances of the script, her role, and therefore her dialog really allow Crawford to express herself well, and she is a treat to hear as well as watch, as usual.

Raymond Massey (Dean Graham) – Massey is such a natural actor that I always adore his performances, and here is just wonderful. I love the scene where he dances with Crawford – watch as he forgets himself and sticks his tongue partway out with the effort of the dance. That, his quoting Bugs Bunny and his very tender, heartfelt scenes with Joan (his Dean Graham character is so sweet and patient) are a standout. I think it was a good casting choice to go with Massey, as his self-effacing nature is perfect for this role.

Van Heflin (David Sutton) – Despite the character's flaws (a very difficult role to play), in the actor's capable hands, it is done well. In his inimitable style and voice inflection, Heflin has the best line in the film, which he delivers offhandedly while pacing the floor: `I'm sorry, Louise – I seldom hit a woman, but if you don't leave me alone, I'll wind up kicking babies.'

Geraldine Brooks (Carol Graham) – a lovely actress, who I am sure I've seen in other films, as her name sounds familiar. She‘s very good as Carol, and gives a lively and strong performance as Massey's daughter. Her reaction to her mom's death and to Crawford's motives for marrying her father are very believable.

A good cast, interesting plot, and decent execution make for a fine film noir.


13 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 72 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed