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By Love Possessed is your high gloss soap opera 50s early 60s style. Had it been done at Universal it would have had Douglas Sirk directing and Rock Hudson in the lead. Here we have Efrem Zimbalist starring and John Sturges who's a bit lost in this genre directing.
Possibly Sirk passed on this one. The drama centers around the law firm in a most conservative small town. Senior partner is Thomas Mitchell who does not look well at all, possibly at the beginning of his final illness and his partners are son-in-law Zimbalist and Jason Robards. Zimbalist is your hail fellow well met and a bit stuck up Ivy League type, a bit thick in his dealings with wife Barbara Bel Geddes and son George Hamilton.
As for Robards he's married to Lana Turner, but he's not been up to that challenge recently. This was still the era of the Omnipresent Code and impotence and its causes are not spoken of by polite movie characters. Turner turns to Zimbalist for some action.
Young Hamilton repeats his sensitive youth character from his role in Home From The Hill in the previous year. He's got good, but neurotic girl Susan Kohner on the string, but his hormones cry out for the town teen tramp Yvonne Craig. She and her mother Claire Carleton are the ones you really remember from this film, their performances have some real bite to them.
Efrem Zimbalist was starring in 77 Sunset Strip at the time at Warner Brothers and they were hoping to transition him to a big screen name like they did with James Garner. That was not in the cards for Zimbalist, but he did get to co-star with a screen legend in Lana Turner.
Not his fault, but the way Zimbalist's role was written I could never develop a rooting interest for him to overcome and deal with his problems. Quite frankly, he's a fathead. Turner also seemed a bit off kilter for a screen sex symbol in this film.
But Lana's fans will love her.
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