Apparently multiple personality disorder was such a new, unheard of and fascinating thing back in 1957 that they actually made a movie about it, based on a true case and story. Not that I'm complaining though. It makes for a pretty unique and still 'fresh' feeling movie, that treats its story more like a mystery, rather than a full blown drama.

This could have been a very dry and melodramatic kind of movie, seeing its subject and the fact that it's based on a true story. Luckily the filmmakers realized that the movie would be a more fascinating and watchable one by approaching things from a different angle. This never becomes a slow or dry movie to watch but actually an interesting and even tense one, especially once its mystery starts to kick.

Perhaps it's true that it really helped that director Nunnally Johnson was a writer as well. He wrote dozens of screenplays, also including for some very well known and respected movies, such as for instance "The Grapes of Wrath" and "The Dirty Dozen". Through his experience as a writer, he understood what was needed to grab the viewers with the story and way of storytelling and keep them interested all throughout.

It of course is also true that the movie works out well thanks to Joanne Woodward's Oscar winning performance. She basically has to play three different characters in this movie, often all in the very same scene. She did a convincing job with all of it and all three characters feel as very different ones. I was also quite fond of Lee J. Cobb's performance, as her main psychiatrist.

You know that a movie is doing a good job with its story when it isn't ever dragging and the movie feels like it's over before you know it. It usually means that the story is being an interesting one and the storytelling solid, which definitely is all true for this movie as well.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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