- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Strange, Suspenseful, and Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck is as evil here as she was in Double Indemnity. Good story about a childhood tragedy that hangs over the head of its perpetrator (Barb) who convinces herself that an old friend has returned to blackmail her. Fine casting job on the child actors who set up the story. The grown-up actors take it to the next level, with Stanwyck splendid here as the manipulative Martha Ivers who thinks she can have her cake, somebody else's cake, and eat it, too. Standout performances by Judith Anderson who eats up every scene she's in. Wish she'd been in more starring vehicles. Lizabeth Scott gives a pouty good turn that makes you alternate between loving and hating her character. Van Heflin is a super smooth leading man intoxicated by Stanwyck, but not really cut out for the life of a kept man. Kirk Douglas is Stanwyck's kept husband who drinks too much in order to forget their little secret. Good popcorn movie.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
An engaging melodrama that marked Douglas' debut. Both he and Stanwyck play thoroughly unsympathetic characters who believe Heflin has returned to town to blackmail them over the murder of Stanwyck's aunt. The story moves along nicely but is so full of unlikable townsfolk the viewers will only wait to see who will get their comeuppance first. A good, but not a great melodrama that's a fine way to pass the time if there's nothing else on. I give it a 3.5/5.
My first time seeing this movie and I quite enjoyed it. At first I had problems with Lizabeth Scott. I don't know if she was purposely doing it, but I kept feeling that she was trying to Lauran Bacall. By the end of the movie, it didn't bother me as much because I was paying much more attention to the other actors. Maybe Barbara Stanwyck was being a bit too "stanwyckish" but once again, it didn't take away from the story. The ending was good and it gave me somewhat of a surprise.
Who or what is the strange love of Martha Ivers?
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this film. I do find it fascinating and I've watched it a few times now. But I keep wondering about the title and what it really means. And I've come to conclude that the strange love of Martha Ivers is really her husband, Walter. For me, Martha's relationship with Walter is what is most interesting in this film. If I have an issue with this film, it's that more wasn't done to explore their obviously complicated relationship. Throughout the movie, there are small moments that reveal that these two people share a bond, a connection, albeit a tortured and twisted one. As young teenagers, early in the movie, Martha is obviously more comfortable and more herself with Walter than with Sam. She's not afraid to tell Walter that she is afraid of the storm or that she loves her cat. She could not do that with Sam. Sam scorned her cat, but Walter played with it and hid it for her. And while Same ran away during the early climatic scene, it was Walter who stood by her. As adults, Walter tells Sam that Martha usually stops by his office in the morning before she heads to her own. After Sam slams Walter's hand in the drawer, Martha cares for his injured hand. Even Martha's angry outburst at Walter after he failed to show up at a speaking function reveals feelings for him. If she didn't care and detested him so much, would she really get angry like that? Would she stop by his office? Would she care for his injury?For me, the end was entirely appropriate. Martha does realize that she needs Walter and maybe even loves him. But to see that truth means she must also confront the truth about the ugliness they committed by framing an innocent man to die. In the end, Walter knows this and so does Martha. Their mutual suicide is the perfect statement of their bond. It's sad because it was Martha's aunt's cruelty that started them down this twisted and tortured path. They were robbed of a potential happiness together.
Odd title to this movie. There's never any love in the Martha Ivers' circle. She never got enough chance in early life to become acquainted with the real article. Her dye is already cast by the time the old boyhood friend shows up again. You only get to actual love with Sam and Toni, or especially Sam for Toni. He's a sensitive and caring fellow. Martha needed his influence for that reason. Maybe he could have helped her be human had he been able to stay around early on.Everyone notices Kirk Douglas. He's so attractive you wish for him to be a more virile character. Didn't have to wait very long for that to come about. There were a couple more weak guy roles, and then he took off with mastery. And, a case could be made for it requiring ability to play a weak person as well as a stronger one.Van Heflin - Something very attractive about him. He was almost always a guy with inner stability, aiding the balance of those around him, usually women. To me, that inner quality WAS his attractiveness. He's the one that could always walk into a mess and immediately start sorting it out. Barbara Stanwyck is at the height of her beauty here or maybe one of her more glamorous roles. She seemed slated to be an evil woman or remembered most for those roles. In contrast, I recall her in an early picture called "The Mad Miss Manton," in which she is an airhead bounding around all over the place. That was really enjoyable, but it was a type that she would naturally move away from to go on to other things. But she was really fun to watch in that.If you don't mind walking on the dark side a bit, this is an interesting one to watch.
Young Love gone horribly wrong!
- Marianne McDermott
This film is way over the top for 1945. But with great acting, directing and fabulous screenplay, those incredients really added to a true "noir" experience. Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott and a young Kirk Douglas were very good in their portrayls of love gone wild. But the true gem was a young unknown, Janis Wilson. I cannot find any info on her, as she only made this film and "Now Voyager" three years before this film(1942). Janis played Martha as a young teenager. The beginning of this film is creepy and Wilson is truly psychotic as Ivers. I felt that if they "aged" her and not added Stanwyck, it would have a lot more intense(nothing against Ms. Stanwyck). But all in all, it was a very well done film. Have seen this over 10 times and it's available on TCM and Youtube as well.
Another Oscar-Winning Collaboration.
- Frank Harris Horn
Oscar-winning producer, Hal B. Wallis and Oscar-winning director, Lewis Milestone present Kirk Douglas in his film acting debut as he co-stars opposite Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin in this gripping melodrama based on the book by James Patrick. A beautiful wealthy industrialist (Stanwyck) and the District Attorney (Douglas) are being blackmailed by a returning war veteran (Heflin), who knows of a deadly secret from the past about a crime she committed years ago. Perfect film noir by Milestone and Wallis. All film noir fans should enjoy it. With Darryl Hickman, Lizabeth Scott, Frank Orth, Dame Judith Anderson, James Flavin, Roman Bohnen, Janis Wilson, Ann Doran, Mickey Kuhn, Charles D. Brown & Tom Fadden.
Fave Film Noir
Barbra Stanwyk is outstanding as a twisted, passion-driven woman who has lost all sense of her moral code. The numerous night shots, rain-swept streets, and bereft, unconsumated love triangles make this one of the most satisfying dark movies of its genre. In the end, no one is innocent and no one is good!
Good Film Noir
A descent Film Noir by the great Lewis Milestone. Lizabeth Scott is captivating with her beauty and it was the first starring roll for Kirk Douglas. A good performance by Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin.
Under Rated Film Noir
- Eddie Natale
This film to me is a classic film noir.Fine supporting cast.Nice performances by,Hefflin,Stanwick,Scot,film debut of Kirk Douglas.This is director Lewis Milestones only venture into film noir.This is must for all fans of this genre.