More sordidness comes to light in the town of Peyton Place. Carol Lynley publishes a bookthat features a thinly disguised version of the town, and exposing the hypocrisies doesn’t earnher any friends. Off to the Big Apple, she becomes more friendly than perhaps she should withthe publisher (Jeff Chandler). Mother From Hell Mary Astor tries to destroy her son’s marriageto Luciana Paluzzi, and so it goes.
The star wattage isn’t as strong as the first film (no Lana Tur…er here), and the budget ismore restrained (even if not much else is). As a glossy studio soap opera, this isn’t completelyunentertaining (though some of the pleasures are on the order of unintentional comedy). But itis also a document of a time when the studio system was in free fall, and the really exciting workwas happening elsewhere. This is product, and nothing more.
The sound is in 2.0, with no mono option (despite what the case says). There are no problemswith surround voices, and the sound quality is clean. The music is big and loud, but is sometimesa bit unbalanced, with the rear speakers coming in just a little too enthusiastically. There is alsosome sibilance under Rosemary Clooney’s vocals during the opening credits song.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer uses a fine print, with very strong and brightcolours. Said colours do, however, suffer from a sudden jerk in tint during transitions. The imageis sharp, and there is no grain. the blacks and contrasts are both very strong as well.
Historian Sylvia Stoddard handles the commentary, and sometimes seems to be a bit pressedfor things to say about an admittedly mediocre film. Early on, for instance, she spends aconsiderable amount of time discussing Cleopatra and the attendant monetary woes for20th Century Fox, all of which by way of explaining the reduced means available for Returnto Peyton Place. The other extras are minimal: two Movietone newsreels, a restorationcomparison, and the theatrical trailer (plus trailers for some more Studio Classics). The menuis basic.
Really the only reason for this film being included in this series is the fact that PeytonPlace was. And that too is a somewhat dubious choice.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Movietone Newsreels
- Restoration Comparison
- Theatrical Trailers