Cast & Crew
After deeply disturbed Louise Howell is brought to the psychiatric ward of a hospital, Dr. Harvey Willard persuades her to relate the events leading up to her breakdown: In Washington state, Louise, who works as a nurse for the emotionally disturbed wife of Dean Graham, is in love with engineer David Sutton and wants to marry him, but he does not return her love and, annoyed by her possessiveness, ends their relationship. David then asks Graham, who does not know of his affair with Louise, to recommend him for a job in Canada. Louise overhears their conversation and later begs David to take her with him to Canada. Sometime later, Graham's wife Pauline drowns herself while Louise is away in the village. That night, still upset by David's behavior, Louise thinks she hears the woman calling her, but the voice belongs to Graham's daughter Carol, who accuses Louise of having an affair with her father. After the funeral, Graham asks Louise to stay on and care for his young son Wynn. When David returns from Canada, Louise is greatly upset and quits. Graham, however, tells her that he has fallen in love with her and wants to marry her, and although she does not love him, Louise agrees. Before the ceremony, Carol apologizes for her suspicions and adds that Pauline's doctor explained that the woman's jealousy was a symptom of her illness. One evening Louise and Carol encounter David at a concert. Disturbed by the meeting, Louise leaves early and suffers a hallucination in which she fantasizes that Carol and David are in love and plotting against her, and that she killed Pauline. A worried Louise secretly consults a doctor, who diagnoses neurasthenia and possible schizophrenia and recommends that she consult a psychiatrist. When she returns home, Louise asks Graham for a divorce, but he is convinced that a vacation will take care of her problems. They return to the beach house where Pauline died, and Louise imagines that Pauline is commanding her to kill herself. When Graham asks why Louise is afraid of Pauline, she confesses that she helped Pauline to the water and watched as she drowned. To Louise's relief, Graham insists that she was in the village at the time of Pauline's death and had nothing to do with it. Later, when Graham and Louise go dancing, they encounter Carol and David, who have just become engaged. Afterward, Louise tells Carol that David is in love with her, although Carol refuses to believe it. An angry David confronts Louise and threatens to tell Graham about their affair. That night, Graham asks Louise to see a friend of his who is a psychiatrist. Louise agrees, but then runs away to David's house, where she shoots and kills him. After she finishes her story, Graham, who has been summoned by Willard, arrives at the hospital. Willard tells him that Louise can be cured, and Graham promises to stay by her side.
Leo F. Forbstein
Robert B. Lee
Fred M. Maclean
Dr. George Thompson
Jack L. Warner
Crawford actually did a great deal of research in preparation for her role, visiting mental hospitals and going over the script with doctors for the sake of authenticity. In fact, her performance seemed so real that one woman sued for invasion of privacy, claiming Crawford had observed her and based the role on her mental treatments.
But Loretta Young's Swedish accent in The Farmer's Daughter won out over psychosis, and Crawford, who says she worked harder on Possessed (1947) than on any other film, lost the Academy Award that year to Young. "Don't let anyone tell you it's easy to play a madwoman," Crawford remarked.
Interestingly, a few days before the Oscar ceremony, Daily Variety printed the results of a poll of over two hundred Academy members. And in this poll, Rosalind Russell was actually picked to win for her performance in Mourning Becomes Electra. Loretta Young was listed in fourth place for her role as The Bishop's Wife, a misprint that should have read The Farmer's Daughter because Young was not nominated for The Bishop's Wife. On Oscar® night, the Variety poll was batting a thousand and had picked every winner correctly leading up to Best Actress. (The Academy also chose this year to change the order in which the awards were presented. Best Actress was the last award given.) Expecting no surprises so late in the night, the audience started heading for the doors and presenter Fredric March actually started to say Rosalind's name before he did a double take and announced Loretta Young as the winner. No one was more surprised to hear her name called than Young who asked to see the envelope before she accepted the award.
The Variety poll would continue for another decade before the public polling practice was discouraged by members of the Academy. You may remember that a similar poll was attempted by the Wall Street Journal last year. This time members were asked by the Academy president not to cooperate.
And as for our Joan Crawford, the Oscar for Mildred Pierce (1945) would be the only one she ever received.
Producer: Jack L.Warner (executive)
Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Screenplay: Ranald MacDougall, Lawrence Menkin, Silvia Richards, Rita Weiman (story)
Cinematography: Joseph Valentine
Costume Design: Adrian
Film Editing: Rudi Fehr
Original Music: Franz Waxman
Principal Cast: Joan Crawford (Louise Howell Graham), Van Heflin (David Sutton), Raymond Massey (Dean Graham), Geraldine Brooks (Carol Graham), Stanley Ridges (Dr. Harvey Williard).
BW-108m. Closed captioning.
by Stephanie Thames
"I love you" is such an inadequate way of saying I love you. It doesn't quite describe how much it hurts sometimes.- Louise
The film's working titles were The Secret and One Man's Secret. According to a press release dated April 5, 1944, Ida Lupino, Paul Lukas and Sydney Greenstreet were to star in the film. A August 6, 1946 Hollywood Reporter news item reports that production closed on the film for several weeks due to Joan Crawford's illness with strep throat. The item also notes that Crawford asked to have director of photography Sid Hickox replaced. Joseph Valentine took over from Hickox after the latter had worked for 38 days. Although Joan Crawford appeared in a 1931 film of the same title, it is unrelated to this film. Crawford received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance.
Released in United States Summer July 26, 1947
Released in United States Summer July 26, 1947