Go Ahead and Shoot…As Far As Killing Me, Well, I Don’t Think You’re That Good a Shot: Possessed (1947)

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.

Wow!

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.

Except in this situation Louise is the desperate one.

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:

Ugh

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…

Suspicious

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 peckI 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)

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)

Why didn’t you stop me, Sam? You know how much I hated her! Why didn’t you stop me?

So I love Kirk Douglas:

How can you not like this face

In fact I even wrote him a fan letter once, but have yet to hear back from him.

Oh, well

Anyways, I picked up a great book not too long ago about his life, The Films of Kirk Douglas [although it ends with The Indian Fighter (1955)]. I found the book to be interesting, well written, and hard to put down.

So the first film that Kirk Douglas was in is called The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. It sounded so interesting-film noir about a woman who destroys one man after another in her pursuit of money, power, and love.

So when I spotted it on Amazon Instant Watch, I knew I needed to watch it immediately.

However, as I started watching the film it turned out that was sadly mistaken. This film was nothing like what I thought it would be like.

I know, right?

So the film starts out with young Martha Ivers, niece to Mrs. Ivers (Judith Anderson) the richest woman in the town. Her aunt controls everything and everybody, except for one-Sam Masterson. The two were trying to run away together, just to be free, but are found out and Martha is sent back with her aunt.

Martha Ivers as a girl: You don’t own the whole world.

Mrs. Ivers: Enough to make sure you’re always brought back to me.

Mr. O’Neil, her tutor discovered where she was hiding. Mr. O’Neil is a super brownnoser, trying to get Mrs. Ivers to help his son Walter become more by blessing him with a good education. Mrs. Ivers thanks him for his help, but in no way does she care about him or his needs.

Meanwhile, upstairs Martha and Walter are talking when Sam arrives to take her with him. Everything is going well until Mrs. Ivers senses something is up, as Martha has been far too quiet, and heads upstairs. Sam sees Mrs. Ivers and runs off, Mrs. Ivers trips on Martha’s cat (which Mrs. Ivers hates), Mrs. Ivers begins to hit the cat with her cane, and Martha becomes so angry that she takes the cane, beats her aunt, and Mrs. Ivers falls down the stairs dead.

Walter saw everything, so Martha takes him into her confidence and gets him to lie with her to his father, Mr. O’Neil. She says a man came in and attacked her aunt.

Mr. O’Neil looks at the body and Martha and figures everything out about what really must have happened. But he goes along with her, using this to tie the two kids in the closest bond imaginable.

Time passes and we pick up in the present with Sam Masterson (Van Heflin) who is driving along. Since he ran away Sam has been everywhere, with all kinds of women, and done  little of everything-although he gets his money from gambling. He is surprised to find himself back in his old area, so surprised that he crashes his car and has to stay in Iverstown until it is fixed.

He discovers that Walter O’Neil (Kirk Douglas) and Martha Ivers (Barbara Stanwyck) married and that Walter did get the fancy education, making him district attorney. Sam heads off looking around the changed town and meets a young, troubled, blonde, Toni Marachek

Hmm…

For me this is where the story seriously tanks.

Ugh.

Sam falls in love with Toni after just meeting her. It is really weird as he is this tough guy who takes whatever he wants from people, you know, and then this girl gives him like 3% of her life story and he is hooked. I thought the whole interaction was dumb and not necessary. It was also extremely boring.

Eventually after a lot of blah, blah, blah

Blah, blah

It turns out Toni is an ex-con and that since she didn’t take her bus home like she was supposed to, she broke probation and was sent back to prison. Sam is so upset that he lost his “love”

YOU JUST MET HER AND KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HER!!!!!

So he goes to Walter to try and get him to spring her. Walter has become an alcoholic, his life devastated at the fact that he helped send an innocent person to prison. When Sam comes in asking for things, Walter assumes that Sam witnessed the death of Mrs. Ivers and is trying to blackmail them.

Meanwhile, Martha runs into Sam and she likes what she sees more than ever. She never got over Sam, and even though Walter loves her with every part of his being, she can’t stand him. She constantly tries to come on to Sam and rekindle their childhood interest.

Meanwhile, a jealous Walter tries to take care of Sam-using Toni to set him up and sending guys after him to rough him up a bit.

Ouch

Sam survives and comes to take revenge on Walter. The two fight, with Walter trying to shoot Sam, but Sam wrestling it out of his hands.

Martha runs off to a private rendezvous with Martha and as they are talking it is revealed that Sam never saw anything.

Martha Ivers: Why didn’t you stop me, Sam? You know how much I hated her! Why didn’t you stop me?

Sam Masterson: I wasn’t there.

Martha Ivers: Why didn’t you stop…[realizes] You, weren’t there?

Sam Masterson: No, I left as soon as I saw your aunt enter the room.

Now armed with such knowledge, Sam makes a double play. One-he starts demanding more from Walter while two-making Martha care for him again.

What jerks

It all comes to a head when Walter and Sam fight, Walter falling down stairs, drunk, and discovered by Martha. Martha tries to convince Sam to kill her husband so they can be together.

Help me! I’m confused!

Sam refuses, and then Martha tries to get Walter to kill Sam. Sam doesn’t like where everything is going.

Eventually Sam leaves, and Walter and Martha are left together in their twisted web of deceit and division. Martha tries to say something to Walter, but he shoots her.

Wow

Afterwards he turns the gun on himself.

Sam and Toni take off into his car free forever.

I thought this was horrible. I was looking for mystery, plotting, intrigue, evil woman creating downfall everywhere she went, etc. Instead we got insta-romance and boring melodrama. I would just pass this film on by, not worth your time at all. And let me say, I cannot fathom how every girl was going ga-ga over Van Heflin. He’s not that attractive or particularly charming.

And yeah, again no banner for this film. I don’t know why I picked so many bannerless films this year. Oh, well.

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to I Don’t Kill People Anymore: Psycho II (1983)

For more film-noir, go to It’s A Hard World: Backfire (1950)

For more Kirk Douglas, go to Make My Day

For more with Judith Anderson, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime: Laura (1944)