Welcome to Peyton Place, a charming New England town, and as picture-perfect a postcardof the 1950s as you could hope to fine. Except for all the rape, incest, and murder, that is. LanaTurner is the repressed mother trying to protect her daughter from the real world. Lee Philips isthe dashing new principle who courts Turner. Arthur Kennedy is the drunken janitor withunhealthy designs on his step-daughter. Russ Tamblyn is the quiet boy with the domineeringmother, and he year… after Turner’s daughter (Diane Varsi). Grace Metalious’ novel kick up amajor fuss when it was published (and also became an enormous bestseller). The sex andviolence in the film are handled somewhat more decorously (though the film is presented ashaving helped chip away at censorship), while at the same time the soap operatics aresledgehammer subtle. Entertaining stuff, though.
The English track is in stereo only, and I can’t help but feel that a straight mono optionwould have been a nice idea, as this would have spared us from some of the less successful stereoaspects. Still, I’ve heard a lot worse. There are no surround voices, though at times the dialogueis uncomfortably stretched left and right simultaneously. There is not much by way ofenvironmental effect, but the music is well served (and is not exaggerated by the rear speakers),and some of the left-right separation is quite good.
I caught at least one splice, but the print is generally in find shape. There are a few grainy ordirty moments, but these are limited to isolated shots. The speckling is minor. The image is good,though I found myself wishing for a bit more sharpness. The colours are excellent, and are attimes surprisingly naturalistic for 1957.
Side A has a commentary by Terry Moore and Russ Tamblyn (recorded separately), and thetwo actors have plenty of background to tell us about. Side B has a 25-minute A&E Backstoryepisode about the movie. Typical stuff, but interesting. Other than this: 2 Movietone newsreels(the premier and Photoplay Awards), the teaser, and the theatrical trailer. Not much whencompared to some of the other releases in this series. The menu is basic.
Luridly entertaining, and a generally nice presentation. A good addition to Fox’s excellentStudio Classics series, but not the strongest entry.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- A&E Backstory
- 2 Movietone Newsreels
- Theatrical Trailer