Psychiatrist Lee J. Cobb is visited by Joanne Woodward and husband David Wayne. She ishaving spells during which she cannot remember what she gets up to. It turns out that she has amultiple personality disorder, and when repressed, demure housewife Eve White fades out ofthe picture, teasing minx Eve Black steps out. Hubby, who is neither the most sympathetic northe smartest cookie going, cannot understand what’s going on, but Cobb does his best to help.Woodward’s wife spira…s ever further out of control, and becomes even more complicated whena third personality surfaces. This one is called Jane, and though she is much more “normal” thanthe other two, she also suffers from total amnesia.
The film is based on an actual case, and Alistair Cooke, in full Masterpiece Theatermode, emphasizes this fact in his on-camera introduction. His narration supplies still moregravitas. Woodward’s performance is pure Oscar material, since she is called on to chew thescenery like nobody’s business, but she does so most convincingly. While the direction doesn’tdo much with the CinemaScope screen, the drama is always compelling.
As with the other Studio Classics, you have your choice between the original monosoundtrack and a new 2.0 mix. The sound is clean, but the stereo version is one of the worstoffenders when it comes to inappropriate surround I’ve encountered in a while. The sound boomsout of all speakers with no distinction whatsoever, and that includes the dialogue.
Though, as mentioned, the ‘Scope format isn’t really used to full effect, it is still nice to seethe film in its proper ratio. The print is in excellent condition, with only the tiniest bit ofspeckling, and no grain to speak of. The edge enhancement is so slight as to be beneath notice.There is a very small bit of flicker, but the image is otherwise extremely sharp and stable, withexcellent black-and-white tones (the blacks themselves are stunning).
Film Historian Aubrey Solomon’s commentary is up to the high standards of the StudioClassics series — it’s articulate, it’s informative, and it’s detailed. Fine work. Otherwise, theextras are limited: the Movietone newsreel of Woodward winning her Oscar, and the theatricaltrailer (along with trailers for All About Eve, The Diary of Anne Frank, Fromthe Terrace, The Long, Hot Summer and The Snake Pit. The menu isbasic.
Hugely watchable, with a knock-out performance by Woodward. It’s amusing to speculatewhat the result would have been if, as the commentary, informs, one of the earlier choices hadbeen cast: Marilyn Monroe or Judy Garland.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Movietone Newsreel