"Peyton Place is one of my favorite books and one of my favorite movies. The filming and score are beautiful. The scenery of coastal Maine is fantastic. This is one of the most popular soap operas...the term "Peyton Place" has come to mean a gossipy community.Most of the acting is great... the only actor that does not seem right for the role is Lee Philips. He is does not see the type of guy Lana Turner would go for.Lana Turner and Diane Varsi have some great mother daughter conflicts. Lloyd Nolan is great as the doctor caught in the moral dilemma of covering up a miscarriage (which was an abortion in the book)The DVD adds an interesting commentary by Russ Tamblyn and Terry Moore. You feel as if you are sitting with them as the watch the film. They give share stories of what it was like to be a young actor in the 1950s.This is a great film and even better DVD. My wife and I liked the book and movie so much we named our daughter Allison after Peyton Place's main character."
One of the very best of its kind!!
Daniel G. Madigan | Redmond, WA United States | 07/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peyton Place was filmed in beautiful Camden, Maine and I remember the time when it was filmed there..I was a kid growing up in Portland , Maine. It is a great piece of melodrama, and the music of course makes it such. The score alone merits attention, and you can get it on CDs and Lp if you search. Well worth it. The film has many pluses: Lana Turner is in a new kind of role here, not so camp, but fun to witness her distress and those hands of hers moving in all directions. Also, check out her Maine accent. Where can she be from???
Diane Varsi is wonderful as Allison, and Hope Lange never better..this is one out of three or four good Hope Lange performances. All of Varsi should be seen, including Johnny Got His Gun and even Bloody Mama.When Varsi made Peyton Place she was 23 and had been married three times and had some children. Her Reveries on marriage and chastity have strange resonaces to them!Betty Field is in this, and she oozes madness; her husband is Arthur Kennedy, who has rape written all over that face and body. And then there is David Nelson from the dreadful Ozzie and Harriet series of the 50's, acting his way out of a film career of any kind, very funny, and Barry Coe(whatever happened to him?) and the great Terry Moore, who gices a superb performance, and who has the best Maine accent ever heard in any film about Maine.You get vetrans Leon Ames(Doris Day musicals) and the evr great and eerie Mildred Dunnock, with those cryptic lines to the class she teaches and to the alcoholic janitor, not to be forgotten. And LLoyd Nolan as Doc Swain, pontificating and gossiping about affairs and abortions.His laugh and sneer are classic here.
Then there is Lee Philips, who is the image of a small town principal; tweedy and sententious and civic-minded. Lana must be wooed by him and it is very funny to see. Lee never went anywhere at Fox or at any other studio, but he's servicable and could have done more, I think, with direction. Here, he is scary he's so authentic. Lana's interest in him is hard to belive, beciuse she always liked mobsters and he-men in real life.Good for her!
The score and the color and the CinemaScope are better served on the large screen, and DVD will help this film a great deal. Wait for its manifestation on DVD and relive the passions and power of Peyton Place.Do not forget Return To Peyton Place: this is the bad sequel, but the real good part of this film are the performances of Mary Astor and Eleanor Parker, especially Mary Astor who steals the film and shows everyone how to act on screen. Carol Lynley's career at Fox eneded with this film. She plays Allison, and she is beyond comment, but, hilarious in every way, and she means to be serious. Jose Ferrer directs so badly I expect always to see him lynched at the end of the film, but, again, there are bonuses: you get Rosemary Clooney(then Jose's wife) signing the Peyton Place theme with lovely lyrics, and she is in splendid voice. These two films are rare things, and they come out of the 50's and early 60's when naivete and experience were just touching bases with each other. These films are still trying to bypass James Dean, Brando, and Newman's talents and insights..a last gasp of Romanticism with those glittering musical themes sweeping across landscapes meant for lovers.Get the DVD when they come out..Where are they???"
The secrets and scandals of a small New England town
Joseph C. Jones | Tampa, FL United States | 12/01/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based the bestselling novel by Grace Metalious, Peyton Place is a hallmark of mid-20th century American culture and remains powerful melodrama to this day. Modern audiences in particular might notice similarities with the currently popular Dawson's Creek.The story centers around shopowner Constance MacKenzie (Lana Turner), hiding a secret from her past; her daughter Allison (Diane Varsi), who dreams of escaping from Peyton Place and becoming a writer; Allison's best friend Selena Cross (Hope Lange), who lives literally on the other side of the tracks and suffers abuse at the hands of her drunken stepfather (Arthur Kennedy); Norman Page (Russ Tamblyn), a shy, quiet student yearning to break away from his domineering mother; Rodney Harrington (Barry Coe), the playboy son of millowner Leslie Harrington (Leon Ames), who disapproves of his son's relationship with the flashy Betty Anderson (Terry Moore); and Mike Rossi (Lee Phillips), the new high school principal smitten with Constance.Screenwriter John Michael Hayes did a magnificent job of distilling Metalious's occasionally crude story, making it acceptable to film audiences, though it can be argued that Metalious's feminist slant was lost in the process. The film was beautifully directed by Mark Robson, who's never gotten enough respect, perhaps due to his reputation as a craftsman; well, Peyton Place is a finely crafted work, solid entertainment, with majestic location work in Camden, ME, much of which will be lost in the transfer to the small screen. The cinematography is by William C. Mellor and the wonderful score is by Franz Waxman.Peyton Place received 9 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay-Adapted, Best Cinematography, Best Actress (Lana Turner--her only nomination), Best Supporting Actress (Hope Lange, Diane Varsi), and Best Supporting Actor (Arthur Kennedy, Russ Tamblyn). 1957 was the year of The Bridge on the River Kwai, so Peyton Place lost in every category."
The commentaries make this DVD a must-have
Jay Littner | Cincinnati, Ohio | 03/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I already had a beautiful copy of this movie--the outrageously priced ($49.95) laserdisc set put out by Fox Home Video sometime in the 90s--but the selling point for me this time around was the promised audio commentaries by Russ Tamblyn and Terry Moore. I wasn't disappointed! I've always considered Tamblyn one of the unsung heroes of moviedom (his credits read like a list of the best films ever made--"Gun Crazy," "Father of the Bride," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "West Side Story," and this gem among others) and I'm certain that those viewers only familiar with his remarkable dancing and acrobatics in musicals would be surprised by his sure handling of a complex character in this film. The performance earned him a well-deserved Oscar nomination--a feat not shared by the majority of his musical colleagues. Tamblyn comes off as a very likable, unassuming guy in his audio commentary, and his memory of the long-ago events is pretty sharp--even to the point of remembering that a double for Lana Turner did a couple of the shots in the last scene rather than the actress herself. Along the way he has plenty of interesting stories about the other actors, the location shoot, and what was going on in his life at the time. Terry Moore is also very engaging in her commentary, although she's clearly less familiar with the movie itself--e.g., she registers surprise at the fate of Betty Field's character the same way a first-time viewer would. But Ms. Moore also has some intersting recollections, such as roasting in her winter coat while surrounded by fake snow in the blazing California sunshine. And her obvious respect for the story's themes and its characters (as significantly altered and arguably improved for the film adaptation) is very endearing, particularly if you're as enamored of the film as this viewer."
You'll get this for its "scandalous" reputation, but enjoy i
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 04/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Long before David Lynch was fascinated with the notion of wholesome-looking small towns hiding dark underbellies, "Peyton Place" examined the same theme. In fact, "Peyton Place" took the idea one step further: the dark doings under the surface of a "nice" town were one thing, but equally damaging was the fear that one's mistakes, misfortunes, and private business would "get out" and everyone would know about them. That fear, in turn, made it very difficult- at least in this story- to face up to and correct the initial misstep or problem, and thus a vicious circle was created.
So, while "Peyton Place" can definitely be called a soap opera (as every possible over-the-top soap opera situation confronts its many characters), it's a pretty sophisticated soap opera that has something serious to say about adults needing to act like adults and stop being such gossips and busybodies.
I just discovered "Peyton Place" and was surprised how entertaining and well crafted it is. In addition to the film's involving storyline (many storylines, actually), there's a great Franz Waxman score and some incredible scenery. The DVD offers a clean, sharp widescreen print of the film and an interesting and entertaining commentary by members of the original cast. Do yourself a favor and check this movie out"