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The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
Actors: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, Judith Anderson
Director: Lewis Milestone
Genres: Drama
UR     2003     1hr 56min

Barbara Stanwyck mesmerizes as a woman with a past, bound by a crime to a husband she despises. Kirk Douglas quickens our collective pulses in his film debut as her disappointing, dipsomaniac spouse, while Van Heflin and L...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, Judith Anderson
Director: Lewis Milestone
Creators: Victor Milner, Archie Marshek, Hal B. Wallis, John Patrick, Robert Riskin, Robert Rossen
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance
Studio: Tgg Direct
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 01/01/2003
Original Release Date: 07/24/1946
Theatrical Release Date: 07/24/1946
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 56min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Fantastic Noir
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 04/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rain is falling hard as this dark noir melodrama opens, and after the night is over, it will always be raining for Martha Ivers. Lewis Milestone directed this tale of a life-long guilt that festers until misplaced suspicion destroys one person and puts another out of her misery. There are good performances from a great cast, none better than Lizabeth Scott's as a girl down on her luck and hoping against the odds for something good to happen. She is the outside element to three lives bound together since childhood by a crime that has haunted two of them into adulthood.

This is a strange noir in many respects, mostly due to Milestone allowing the moviegoer to see the story in chronological order, rather than using flashbacks. It creates sympathy for the twisted Martha Ivers, because the audience understands how one selfish moment in her youth set her on a coarse she can never change. It has been raining inside her ever since, and will always keeps coming. At the same time, however, we are rooting for the vulnerable Scott, hoping she'll be the victor in a battle she's not sure she can win.

Judith Anderson is Mrs. Ivers, little Martha's (Janis Wilson) aunt. She's none too nice and on a rainy night Martha causes her death in the heat of the moment, only her pal Walter (Mickey Kuhn) a witness. They both believe their friend Sam (Darryl Hickman) witnessed the deed, and that knowledge will haunt them and rule their lives for years to come.

Nearly two decades later Sam Masterson (Van Heflin) has an accident just outside of Iverstown. It brings back memories of when he was a brash kid, and the girl who now controls both Walter (Kirk Douglas) and the town. He meets the lovely Toni Marachek (Lizabeth Scott) on his first night there and lends her a hand. Fresh from jail and hoping to start over, Toni falls for Sam, but fate may slam the door in her face when his ties to Iverstown come to light.

Barbara Stanwyck is the adult Martha, married to the weaker of the boys from her youth, Walter. She always wished it had been Sam who'd stayed that night so long ago, and even when she thinks he's there to blackmail them, she can't help but throw herself at him. She flaunts her feelings for Sam in front of Walter, thinking she has it over on him because he loves her. He may have more courage than she does, however, as their twisted relationship becomes strained further by Sam's return.

Heflin is solid as always and this is one of the great neglected noirs of the 1940's. Douglas is very good in his first screen role and Stanwyck's portrayel of the sad and sick Martha Ivers can stand proudly with any she played in the 1940's. Though her screen time is less by comparison, it is Scott who steals this film, however, as Toni is easily the most memorable character. Even when she isn't around, we are thinking about her plight, wondering what will become of her.

If you want a really fine print, the Paramount one is the one to go with, but for the price, this is watchable and a cheap way to see a great noir. Terrific film."