By May of 1946, Joan Crawford had seen her film career revived by the release of "MILDRED PIERCE", her first starring role since leaving M.G.M studios after 18 star studded years.
Crawford assended even further when she recieved the Academy Award as Best Actress. A renewed, lucrative contract with Warner Bros. studios quickly followed, under which she completed some of her finest films.
"POSSESSED", written and produced by the same team which created "MILDRED PIERCE", began filming two months after she recieved the Academy Award. It is perhaps because of this sudden burst of praise, that Crawford was able to tap deeper into her talents and deliver first rate performances in the three films she made during this period.
In portraying Louise Howell in "POSSESSED", Crawford gave what was arguable the most vivid and well crafted performance of her 81 film career. As a mentally unbalanced private Nurse involved in a one way love affair, Crawford dominates the film, but doesn't push her co-stars out of the frame. Instead, she works with them to help her create a portrait of a schizophrenic woman teetering on the edge of self destruction.
Her descent into madness is slow, but evident from the start. Every detail of this production is geared torwards creating an atmosphere of despair and lunacy (In the wedding scene, Crawford's black wedding suit is adorned with various straps making it seem almost like a black strait-jacket).
From the clinging, pathetic creature hoplessly in love with a self absorbed engineer to the rigid private Nurse ascending the stairs of her employer's home, to the rejected woman accepting her employer's propsal of a marriage of convenience, to the crumbling and scorned woman lost in her own private hell, Crawford is nothing short of mesmerizing.
After "MILDRED PIERCE","HUMORESQUE" and "POSSESSED", never again would Crawford reach the same level of carefully nuanced acting. There would be ambitious attempts, but never again would all the elements blend together to create a classic Crawford film.