Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Peyton Place (1957) (2nd time)

Coming-of-age story set in a small New England town whose peaceful facade hides love and passion, scandal and hypocrisy. [imdb]

Nominated for 9 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Mark Robson
Best Actress: Lana Turner
Best Supporting Actor: Arthur Kennedy
Best Supporting Actor: Russ Tamblyn
Best Supporting Actress: Hope Lange
Best Supporting Actress: Diane Varsi
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography

This is one of the few films that have received 5 Oscar nomination for acting. Don't be fooled by the poster on the right; Peyton Place is an ensemble piece, with lots of stories going on and Lana Turner is the lead just by title and not by screentime. It's a very soapish film, focused on the characters' actions and not so much on deep stuff. Yeah, it's mostly superficial, but pleasant to watch.

I don't think the Oscar nominations for Picture and Director are worthy. From the acting ones, I would say only 2 or 3 were correctly chosen, with Hope Lange (as a rape victim) and Arthur Kennedy (as the rapist stepfather) being the highlights and also offering the best storyline; Lange deserved to win the Oscar. Lana Turner is ok playing a frigid woman (yes, the poster is deceiving, I've told you), but it's a very one-note performance so it didn't wow me. Her love interest, played by whatever-his-name-is, is the most annoying thing about this film; his voice drives me mad and brings down the credibility of the romance.

My rating for the film: 6.5/10. But it can also work as a 7; it depends on the mood while watching. But don't expect greatness, just over 2 and a half hours of soap opera.


  1. Yeah it is sopa over. I saw this movie before I knew ANYTHING about film history etc, so a few months later I saw that Lana Turner had a Best Actress nod. I had always heard about this Lana Turner and seeing that it was lead I thought that Diana Varsi [who seemed lead] was Lana Turner....until I got a brain that it...I was young.

  2. I'm actually a bit charmed by Lana Turner, her hotness can't be ignored. I remember being a bit fascinated by her in The Bad and the Beautiful; and the honor she got, as they included her looks in the title :D

  3. In her memories Turner says she didn't deserve a nomination (however she was very happy). She thought she was far better in The Bad and the beautiful (but MGM refuses to do anything about this), in The Factor, or even in Ziegfield Folies. She is right, by the way. But she has real charm in Peyton Place, with her Turner-star's touch. The picture is exactly what you say : good soap opera with beautiful production values. Nothing more, nothing less, but very watchable if you like this kind of movie.