Peyton Place (1957)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Romance


Peyton Place (1957) Poster

A peaceful New England town hides secrets and scandals.


7.2/10
4,765

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  • Lana Turner and Lee Philips in Peyton Place (1957)
  • Lana Turner and Diane Varsi in Peyton Place (1957)
  • Arthur Kennedy and Hope Lange in Peyton Place (1957)
  • Hope Lange in Peyton Place (1957)
  • Barry Coe and Terry Moore in Peyton Place (1957)
  • Lana Turner and Lee Philips in Peyton Place (1957)

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26 October 2003 | zetes
9
| Beautiful accomplishment
Exceptional, affecting melodrama about small-town life in America. The story is at times a bit tawdry, but it is always intelligent, complex and it is populated with many memorable and realistic characters. They're people to care about. Better yet, the actors portraying them are mostly brilliant. I had some problems with Arthur Kennedy's performance; it's too over-the-top, and not up to the same level of maturity as many of the others. I also thought Lee Philips was weak in a key role. But Lana Turner, Diane Varsi, Russ Tamblyn, Terry Moore, Barry Coe, Mildred Dunnock, Lloyd Nolan, Leon Ames, and Hope Lange give enormously sensitive performances that will live with me for a long time. Especially Ms. Lange, who is just heartbreaking as a young woman who is sexually abused by her alcoholic stepfather (Arthur Kennedy). The story is frank (1950s frank) and intelligent about sex and the way that small towns treat it. I would surely credit director Robson with keeping this film, which could easily have been a disaster, flowing like a gentle stream. It's a rarity that a Hollywood film like this could be so insightful about small-town life. It does have one big narrative problem, and that is that its climax is a trial. It's not often that a climactic trial works well, and there is no exception for Peyton Place. It seems fake, and the lawyers and defendants don't present evidence in an at all believable fashion. And then there's this cringe-inducing third-act speech. It belongs in a lesser film. 9/10.

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