Jan. 12, 2011
12. The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
Starring Joanne Woodward, David Wayne, Lee J. Cobb
Produced & Directed by Nunnally Johnson
Screenplay by Nunnally Johnson
From the book by Corbett H. Thigpen, M.D. and Hervey M. Cleckley, M.D.
Plot: An ordinary housewife seeks psychiatric help in dealing with the three different personalities that have emerged due to a multiple personality disorder.
With the introduction and reoccurring narration, at times this feels almost documentary-like. Yet I think it is safe to say that although this may have been based on an actual psychiatric case, Hollywood did take some liberties with it. Considering the fact that so little was know about this disorder then, some of the details of the illness and the way it is dealt with do not seem entirely convincing. Some aspects—especially the conclusion—just seemed far too oversimplified. As for performances: Joanne Woodward won an Oscar for her role and did a good job managing the different ‘persons’ her character had to play. As the puzzled doctor, Lee J. Cobb is very different here than in the roles that I had previously seen him in, where he usually played mean, loud, angry characters. The production quality of this film was nothing special, but despite [what seemed to me to be] some choppy editing, it was sufficient. As a product of its time, this is an unique film addressing mental illness and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.
Bonus fact: Joanne Woodward made her own dress for the Academy Awards that year, as she didn’t think she would win. (I think it’s a nice dress, though, so apparently she was a talented seamstress as well as an accomplished actress.)