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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)



Reviews and Comments

Barbara Stanwyck was born to play roles like the one she plays in this movie; her performance is one of the best reasons to see The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. The tragic story is another. This film knows one unfortunate truth: that sometimes you can do something in but an instant, on impulse, that rules the rest of your life forever. In the case of Martha Ivers, she commits a grave sin and evades the law -- but she certainly doesn't get away with it.

It is interesting that I've thus far concentrated on Stanwyck's character, because the story is told from the point of view of Van Heflin's, a man who returns to the town he grew up in and stirs up a lot of discomfort in the process. He's good in this, revealing enough but not too much. I liked the way the "real" story in this movie is not what's on the surface but just beneath it. I suspect much of that effect is due to Heflin's and Stanwyck's fine performances.