- 1 hr 48 min
In Possessed, directed by Curtis Bernhardt, Joan Crawford portrays a mentally unstable woman named Louise Howell. The film begins with her wandering on the streets of Los Angeles, and she is soon taken by ambulance to the hospital where Dr. Harvey Willard (Raymond Massey) treats her. As the plot progresses, it is revealed that Louise was a nurse for a wealthy New York family named Graham. When David Graham (Van Heflin), the man she had fallen in love with, didn't reciprocate her feelings, Louise has a mental breakdown. With the help of a friend of David, Dean Graham (Geraldine Brooks), the family finds her and brings her back to New York. They try their best to help her regain her sanity, but she ultimately believes that David is still in love with her. Joan Crawford delivers a standout performance in this film as she navigates through the complexities of mental illness. She portrays Louise's gradual descent into madness with subtle nuances, including trembling hands and a nervous tic in her eye. Throughout the film, Crawford manages to keep the character intriguing by constantly switching between moments of vulnerability and strength. Moreover, David and Louise's relationship adds an element of intrigue to the plot. Throughout the course of the film, they share a complicated love-hate dynamic that keeps the audience guessing about the characters' true intentions. Van Heflin gives a remarkable performance, depicting a character who is tormented by his love for Louise, and the guilt he feels for her current state. Raymond Massey delivers a commendable performance as Dr. Harvey Willard, a psychiatrist who helps Louise recover from her mental illness. He brings a compassionate and yet firm presence to the role of the doctor, who must help Louise regain her grip on reality. The film is also known for its impressive cinematography, which captures the city of Los Angeles in a moody, noir-like style. The shadowy lighting and stark compositions of the shots add to Louise's sense of paranoia and impending doom, making the audience feel as if they are inside her troubled mind. Possessed is a film that explores the complexities of mental illness in a way that was ahead of its time. The film is remarkable for the way it portrays the struggles of a woman who is forced to confront her inner demons while trying to find her place in the world. It is a must-watch for fans of classic Hollywood cinema, especially for those who are interested in character-driven dramas. Overall, Possessed is a beautifully crafted film, featuring a superb cast that delivers outstanding performances.