A dazed woman walks the streets of Los Angeles looking for a man named David. After collapsing in a diner, she's taken to the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital. Flashbacks reveal her obsession for David as a result of borderline personality disorder which ultimately leads to murder.
Joan Crawford ... Louise Howell Graham
Van Heflin ... David Sutton
Raymond Massey ... Dean Graham
Geraldine Brooks ... Carol Graham
Stanley Ridges ... Dr. Harvey Williard
John Ridgely ... Lt. Harker
Moroni Olsen ... Dr. Ames
Erskine Sanford ... Dr. Max Sherman
Next to her searing Oscar-winning performance in 1945's MILDRED PIERCE, Joan Crawford's daring and magnificent portrayal of the doomed schizophrenic in POSSESSED must be considered her best screen incarnation and certainly the best piece of acting by anyone, male or female, in 1947. She is the one who should have felt cheated when Miss Young's name was called.
Whether you believe it for a second or not (and some cannot), you have to agree that Miss Crawford's interpretation of love as a disease is a monumental feat of acting.
What keeps the movie from being as effective as a whole is that the object of Miss Crawford's obsession is played by Van Heflin (normally a good, resourceful actor) in a near non-committal performance.
The director, Curtis Bernhardt, never received much acclaim for his work, though he manages some wonderful set pieces with professional vigor and sustains the somber noirish mood throughout the film's 108 minutes.
* Bette Davis was originally offered the role of Louise, but turned it down to go on maternity leave.