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Learning Difficulty





Recommended by Title

Recommended by Disability

Mental Illness: Major Films  
TitlePossessed (1947)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityMental Schizophrenia
DirectorCurtis Bernhardt
CastJoan Crawford Van Heflin Raymond Massey Geraldine Brooks
NotesB/W. Joan Crawford plays a woman who develops schizophrenia. High on melodrama, low on realism. But might well keep you on the edge of your seat. She is first found in a confused state in the street and taken to a mental hospital try to find out who she is. The story is told in flashbacks and it is revealed she was nurse to a disabled woman. Though in love with an architect (Heflin) her love isn't reciprocated and she marries her employer (Massey) after the suicide of his wife. But Heflin falls in love with her step daughter and this sends Crawford over the edge into schizophrenia. ************************************************************ Joan Crawford wanders around asking for David, when she collapses she's taken to hospital. then to the psychopathic dept and diagnosed as in a catatonic stupor. The doctor while preaching the ills of civilisation says she has mutism. He gives her an injection and she starts talking. Then it's flashback time. J.C. works looking after a woman who is sick. She's obsessed with an engineer (Van Heflin) who cruelly won't have anything to do with her. From the way she carries on one isn't surprised. Then the woman she is looking after drowns herself (though there's some doubt). The coroner's hearing takes place in the living room. On the rebound from Heflin she marries the woman's husband, Raymond Massey. Interestingly she gets married in an all-black costume. But things are to get worse. Van Heflin courts her stepdaughter and soon she's tottering towards a nervous breakdown. In one sequence she admits to killing the wife and the daughter but this turns out to be an illusion. A lot of jargon is spouted by doctors. She's diagnosed as having neurosthenia and it is suggested she has schizophrenia. But you'll get no medical lessons here her state of mind is simply a foundation for high melodrama.

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