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The book "Peyton Place" came out in the early 1950s. It blew off the
lid of a small New England town full of rape, murder, sex, abortion,
infidelity, suicide etc etc. Even though the town (and residents) were
fictitious, this book created an uproar. It was a huge best seller but
condemned as utter trash by all book critics and "moral" people
everywhere (of course they were buying the book themselves). Now,
almost 50 years later, it's considered a great literary novel and
taught in colleges!
Hollywood took the book, toned it down considerably, went all the way
to Maine to film it and basically gave it Grade A treatment. It has a
great cast, a stunning score by Franz Waxman, gorgeous New England
photography and moves along at a fast clip. The once racy stuff is very
tame by today's standards but it's kind of amusing to watch--the
dialogue scene between Diane Varsi and Russ Tamblyn (about sex) is
giggle-inducing. An abortion is never called that--it's called
"inducing a miscarriage". A rape becomes "forcing himself on her".
Still, the main stories in the book come across...and it works very
well. The cast really helps.
Lana Turner is just great as Constance MacKenzie--a woman with a deep
secret. Lloyd Nolan is perfect as Doc Swain--he even gets the New
England accent down right! Arthur Kennedy is downright terrifying as
Lucas Cross and Hope Lange is fantastic as his step-daughter. Everybody
else (with one exception) is good but the ones mentioned above were the
best. The one debit is Diane Varsi--she's TERRIBLE as Alison MacKenzie.
Unfortunately, she's the main character. Her face is always blank and
her readings are in a monotone. Especially bad are her narrations over
the scenery. You see just jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery---and her
drab, toneless voice droning on. Still, everything else is so good
she's easy to overlook.
OK--it's a soap opera but a VERY good one. The 2 1/2+ hours just flew
by. Highly recommended.
Tags for Peyton Place Full Movie
, Lana Turner
, Lee Philips
, Lloyd Nolan
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