One of the blackest of the post-war film noir classics, "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers" is notable for both its outstanding story and technique, and its truly impressive cast. Veterans Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin were joined by the youthful Kirk Douglas, making his screen debut in this lush Hal Wallis production. Small town mystery, murder, and intrigue is the subject as a common American phenomenon, the small town run by a powerful matriarchal family, is examined at less than arms length. The mysterious murder of a rich aunt by a young child haunts the lives of the killer and the witnesses across the years, building to a dramatic conclusion as a surprise visitor returns to town after an absence of decades.
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 Lizabeth Scott bring texture to supporting roles. Everything about this 1946 film noir is intriguing, from Lewis Milestone's direction to Edith Head's costumes to the edgy and troubled characters. It takes a long, hard look at guilt and the consequences of poorly planned actions. Well worth checking out, despite a wretched title. --Rochelle O'Gorman
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.