The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

"Very Good"

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Review


Whisper her name!

Thus read the ads for the original 1946 release of the classic, under-appreciated film noir The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, and although the tagline refers to the character, the name that the title brings to mind is that of star Barbara Stanwyck. As Martha, Stanwyck plays a woman with a secret, living in the kind of anywhere-in-America town that film noir sketched so indelibly on the big screen, a town where everything would seem peaceful to a stranger, but the locals know that intrigue simmers just out of sight. If you have to talk about Martha - a woman who's not only notorious but powerful as well - it probably is best to lower your voice. In a town this size, word gets around.

There's a strong undercurrent of perversity in all of film noir, but The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is among the most marvelously perverse of them all. We join Martha as a little girl living with her wealthy aunt in one of those American Gothic homes that spelled privilege in '40s film. Privilege, in turn, spells spoiled, and so it is that one day Martha prevents her aunt from attacking her cat with a cane by turning the cane on her aunt instead. There are, of course, witnesses to the killing; flash forward to the present and we find Martha married to one (he's now the district attorney, and he's played by Kirk Douglas) but in love with the other. When this other witness (a drifter and a gambler, played by Van Heflin) returns to town, the simmering intrigue comes to a boil.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is a slick entertainment with a taut narrative and shrewd direction by Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front). Stanwyck, as always, is a joy; while this film falls just past her prime as an actress, she still exhibits the fire and magnetism that made her a star. In his screen debut, Douglas is given eyeglasses and a sheepishness that he would soon shed, and supporting actress Lizabeth Scott is appealingly dopey in one of her better roles.



The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 24th July 1946

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 10

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Hal B. Wallis

Starring: as Martha Ivers, as Sam Masterson, as Antonia 'Toni' Marachek, as Walter O'Neil, as Mrs. Ivers, Roman Bohnen as Mr. O'Neil, Darryl Hickman as Sam as a Boy, Janis Wilson as Martha as a Girl, as Bobbi St. John, Frank Orth as Hotel Clerk, James Flavin as Detective #1, Mickey Kuhn as Walter as a Boy, Charles D. Brown as McCarthy - Private Detective

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.