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

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

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.