Well, go ahead and shoot. Mathematically, the chances of your hitting me are slight. And as far as killing me, well, I don’t think you’re that good a shot.
So I was watching the lifetime film Widow on the Hill, which is based on the true story of a hospice nurse who ended up marrying her wealthy patient’s husband (after the patient died) later being arrested for his murder after he died under suspicious circumstances. It was not a bad film, but all I could think as I was watching it was that it reminded me of a film I saw years ago, Possessed, starring Joan Crawford and Van Heflin.
***Side Note***: This film is nothing like the 1931 film starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, yes Joan Crawford is the only actress to ever have been in two completely different films that share the same name.
This a film-noir which you know I adore. It deals with mental illness, Joan and the director visiting different psychiatric wards to make sure they depicted things accurately.
Anyways, the film starts off with Louise Howell (Joan Crawford) roaming the streets having suffered a psychotic break and saying the name “David” over and over again.
She gets picked up and taken to an asylum.
Dr. Harvey Williard: It was pain that made her this way.
Yes a man damaged her-poor girl. We then get a flashback to how her life was before.
Louise was a nurse hired to help the horrible, mean, invalid Mrs. Graham. True she is sick, but how she treats and accuses Louise constantly of cheating with her husband- makes Louise hate Mrs. Graham and every day of her life.
Believe me, living with that abuse it horrible. Every day is hell on earth.
Dean Graham (Raymond Massey), the husband, is kind and caring-very friendly. But Louise isn’t interested. Truth is, she would have left a long time ago except for one thing-David.
David Sutton (Van Heflin), is the handsome, engineer, next door neighbor and started a relationship with Louise. He doesn’t really care for her, but to Louise it is love. She becomes more obsessive, more possessive, more desperate-hoping to hold on to him, hoping to marry, hoping to be taken away from this life.
David grows tired of her not understanding “the game” and leaves for a job in Canada. Louise begs him to take her with him, but he refuses-not wanting anything to do with her.
David Sutton: I’m sorry, Louise. I seldom hit a woman, but if you don’t leave me alone, I’ll wind up kicking babies.
I hate men like that:
Louise becomes more and more distressed and finds it harder to keep her life together. Especially with Mrs. Graham on her back. One night when Louise is gone, Mrs. Graham drowns herself…or does she. Hmm…
Louise is going to leave, but Dean asks her to stay on to help with his kids, college age Carol and little Wynn. Carol, however, hates having Louise here as she believes her mother’s accusations about Louise and her father. Louise wants to leave, but Dean convinces her to stay on.
However, Louise is suffering from hallucinations and starting to break a little. She keeps thinking she hears Ms. Grahame’s voice.
Later David returns and is surprised to find that Louise remained on with the Grahmes. Louise is thrilled to have him back, but he rebuffs her.
Louise Howell: [on meeting again after long separation] Aren’t you going to kiss me?
David Sutton: I had no plans one way or the other.
Louise Howell: All right, then. Go ahead and kiss me. You don’t have to mean it. [He gives her the briefest peck] I didn’t expect you to mean it that little.
David Sutton: When a woman kisses me, Louise, she has to take pot luck.
This guy! UGHHHHH!!!!
Dean however, has fallen for Louise and wants to marry her. She tells him that she does not love him and probably never will, but he is fine with that. He will take her anyway he can:
He believes that through time she will grow to love him.
Carol apologizes for her accusations, and it looks as of Louise and her might have a good relationship. But one thing ruins it all:
One day they are out and run into David. David couldn’t care less about Louise buts finds Carol intriguing.
David Sutton: [upon meeting Carol again who he last saw when she was a bratty 11-year-old girl, but is now a shapely 20-year-old woman] Let me look at you. Mm-hmm. Well, you… you haven’t grown very much, but… then again, you have.
I can’t stand him!!! Why do they like him??????
Louise begs off early with a headache, but when she gets home starts hallucinating. She believes the two to be in love and plotting against her.
As she is a nurse she goes to a psychiatrist to see what is going on with her. When doing so she finds out that she suffers from schizophrenia. She goes to Dean to try and get him to divorce her, but he refuses, he loves her. He takes her on a vacation but it doesn’t go well.
They go back to the old house, where the former Mrs. Grahame died. There Louise starts to have a complete psychotic breakdown. She believes the first wife is after her, that she is telling her to kill herself.
She admits to Dean that she killed Mrs. Grahame. Mrs. Grahame went on the water and started drowning and Louise did nothing. Dean tells her that it is false, that she was in the village and nowhere near Pauline.
So this is interesting, the film leaves it open up to us to decide. Was Louise in the village and just suffering from her psychotic break? Or did she really murder Mrs. Grahame and pretend to being in the village? Hmmm…
But then Carol and David announce they are going to marry. And Louise loses it.
She completely breaks down and does all she can to stop it. David won’t listen to her so she tells Carol all about her and David-that David is in love with her, But Carol won’t believe her.
They decide to admit her, but Louise eludes them and goes to see David. She can’t stay away from him, she can love none but him. If she can’t have him then no one can.
David doesn’t believe she will do it, but Louise proves him wrong.
And you know what, I’m glad. He was an awful man.
We then pick up where the film begins. The doctor is going to treat her and Dean will stay by her side. He really loves her no matter what. It’s sweet and sad.
Its a great film, Joan Crawford is amazing and just does all she can to lead the film. Van Heflin is a great bad guy and a total scumbug being. I recommend it.
To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)
For the previous post, go to Mrs. Darcy Wants to Know the Truth!: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Three (2013)
For more film-noir, go to The Misery That Walks Around On This Pretty, Quiet Night: Deadline at Dawn (1946)
For more Van Heflin, go to Why Didn’t You Stop Me, Sam? You Know How Much I Hated Her! Why Didn’t You Stop Me?: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)