Possessed is a 1947 English Film. A psychological drama about a lady’s obsession about a man, that leads her to a complete mental breakdown. The film has a good suspenseful story, and several climax situations. Watch the Trailer of “Possessed” online from youtube and get special online deals on Possessed DVD from CalcuttaTube Movie Partner.
Possessed 1947 – a drama tackling a plethora of human emotions and instincts – love, hatred, obsession, faith, lust and loyalty
‘Possessed by the devil’ – as the common people would say ; doctors call it schizophrenia, a disease of the human mind that leads its victim to extreme suggestibility, where the person loses control over the mind, gets lost in between the reality and reveries, which may end up in a dream from which the mind may never wake up.
* 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
Possessed 1947: Critic’s Review
The film ‘Possessed’ starts with a sickly pale lady on the streets of Los Angeles looking everywhere for a man named David. She cannot remember anything else other than the name David, nor can she speak out any other things. She is admitted to the L.A hospital where after preliminary medication she agrees to talk to the doctor about her past.Her name is Louise Howell and she has come from Washington DC to look for her boyfriend David. The film then flashes back……………….
Louise Howell (Joan Crawford) is a well-trained professional nurse appointed to look after a depressing sick patient Mrs. Graham. Mrs. Graham is not shown in the film, but she is heard. She suspected her husband Dean Graham with any woman, which is now Louise. It is not true, and Dean is a perfect gentleman who takes care of her ailing wife and shows all the respect to her nurse. But no one else else about Loise was her love for David, who was a neighbor of the Grahams in their lake house. David was an engineer with profound love for Mathematics that made him take life as a series of well-planned calculations. He had never loved Louise seriously, and he perfectly hated her infatuation for him. David confessed that he was not in love with Louise, and he himself wanted a break from her and wanted her to be of him too. But Louise did not get out of his charms, no matter how much he hurt him. She kept spying on him on his occasional visit to the Graham’s place without anyone’s knowledge about this one-sided relation of hers.
Louise could not control her emotions for David. It seems that nothing important ever happened in her life before she met David – she was ‘neither happy, nor sad’, she just ‘existed. But her emotions did not move David, he wanted to leave for Canada. Louise could not hide her grudge. She was always very unstable when around David, but surprisingly she was very smart and professional at work. Even Mrs. Graham’s sick lousy talks did not make her leave her job like some other nurses have done before.
In the Grahams’ lake house, a sad thing happens. Mrs. Graham gets drowned in the lake. It was Louise’s day off and she was in the village. When she came back, they could not find Mrs. Graham. After the police came, her body was discovered from the bottom of the lake in the small hours of night. Louise blames herself for this mishap – she should not have gone to the village leaving her sick patient alone. But Mr. Graham consoled her that it was no one’s fault, her wife did that purposefully. The police come in for investigation, and a trial session organized at the lake house. But they find it just a mere accident. The Grahams’ children came back home from boarding school on this bereavement, and Carol, Dean’s daughter blame Louise for being in love with his father. Carol blamed Louise for quite some time for taking her mother’s life, till later she learns from the family doctor that her mother was far more sick than she had known.
After Mrs.Graham’s suicide, or self-made accident Louise moved to Washington DC with Mr. Graham to take care of his young son.There again she met David, who came to see his friend Dean. But neither David nor Louise’s feelings have changed for each other. And the evening David had rejected Louise pouring out all his hatred for her, Dean proposed to marry her. Louise accepted his offer since she needed someone’s affection in her deserted life, but David continued to come back to her life. Louise went to see Carol and ask for her opinion about this marriage; she did not want Dean to lose his daughter for a newly married wife. And soon she made friends with Carol.
The moment Louise married Dean, David started to get mushy with Dean’s daughter Carol. Louise tried her best to love her husband and her new family, and would not like any harm to come to Carol. But her mental strain was going out of the edge, she was constantly being tormented by David’s memories and his made-up love affair with Carol. And then one night, Louise started to see things. She could not distinguish between her imaginations and reality, and her conscience and subconscious mind, guilts took over her conscious soul. She imagined herself killing Mrs. Graham, which was not true, and then she imagined David telling on her to Carol. She went to see a doctor suppressing her real identity, and her schooling in nursing told her she is suffering from schizophrenia. When she wanted a divorce from Dean, to let him out of this trouble, he takes her to the lake house for a change.
In the lake house when Louise started seeing Mrs. Graham and told Dean that she had helped his deceased wife in committing the suicide, the memory of which keeps coming back to her, Dean calmed her down by reminding her that she was not in the house that evening. It could not have been her, since the late Mrs. Graham had come to the lake with Dean himself. Louise recalled what happened that evening, and for some time she got back to her real self. Her mental stability did not last very long, especially with David seeing Carol and planning to marry her. Louise knew about David’s ruthlessness and emotionless attitude towards love, and now he even confessed to marry Carol for her money. She tried her best persuading her step-daughter to get away from David, and even bring Dean into breaking up this marriage., but failed. When Dean invited a psychologist friend of his to talk to Louise, she ran away. She went right to David’s place to talk to him, but did not succeed in convincing him. She tried to scare him off with a gun, and when David tried to bring her into control with some dramatical talking, she shoots.
This is the story of Louise Graham, as told to the doctors in the hospital. When the finishes her story, Dean comes to the hospital to see her. The doctor tells him about her disease. She still has to face the murder trial, though the doctors know that she was not in control of her mental situation at the time she committed the murder.
Possessed 1947 critical analysis and Comments:
The films is based on a psychological story with some thriller components. And the story has some twists in it several times the protagonist character Louise confesses committing a murder to marry Dean to make David come back to him. The character has several contradictions in her nature – she is a strong moral sense about family and bondings, a sporting attitude in her profession, but in her personal life she is carried away by emotions for someone who has not loved him even for a moment. And after marriage, she tries to be a good wife, but cannot win over her destructive emotions. Louise’s attraction for her lover and her Dean’s real love for her – are both equally enviable.
David in the first art of the film was acting more honest about his feelings towards Louise Howell, but later was exposed as a ruthless man of 35, who would marry the 20-year old rich girl, Caroline for her money. And to fade their economic discrepancies, he further plans to spend all her money as quickly as he can.
The character of Dean Graham is a great creation. He is a man of principles and knows his duties towards his family. He took care of his severely depressed first wife, and then his second wife Louise. He is more dedicated to marriage as an institution, and lives in his present. The silhouette of the bitterness of his first life does not take over his second wife. Dean takes tight decision at the right time. He is ideal in any roles he has to take in life – husband, father, employer, and a perfect gentleman. He is the only character so very perfect!
The film is a very advanced one compared to the time it was made, and dealt with a lot of analyses of schizophrenia. A few parts may seem a bit overdone or exaggerated to the audience of this time. But the subject is very unique. And with certain other factors streaming in the main psychological basis of the story, the film gets a different dimension. Did Louise kill David to take her revenge, or to save Carol’s life from getting into a ruthless flirt’s hands? Did David have the slightest love for Carol, or was it just a made-up relationship? And if so, why? Just for Dean’s wealth, or to make Louise more and more inpatient? It is for the movie-watcher to decide.
The films has a good cast. Joan Crawford as Louise Howell Graham is wonderful. Van Hefiln as David Sutton and Geraldine Brooks as Caroline Graham are good, but nothing special. Raymond Massey as Dean Graham is excellent. He is more duty-bound to all his relations than given to emotions.
The film reminded me of another film of its time, ‘The Letter’ where Joan Crawford’s competitor Betty Davis played the role of married woman who is deadly attracted to her illegitimate lover. ‘The Letter’ though ha a different context and situations, but a woman’s passion for a man that can lead her even to kill her loved ones, remained the same.
Joan Crawford also starred in another movie with the same ‘Possessed’ made in 1931 opposite to the great star Clark Gable.
Possed 1947 film review by: Shrabanti Basu, CT Reporter, USA