Today at 10am EST on TCM’s Noir Alley, hosted by Eddie Muller:
The Strange Love of Martha IversThe Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) Lewis Milestone
Nearly two decades after the death of her rich aunt, Martha Ivers (Barbara Stanwyck) has married Walter (Kirk Douglas, in his very first role), a district attorney whom Martha doesn’t love, but the marriage is one of convenience. Martha’s former friend Sam (Van Heflin) drifts into town, meets a sultry woman named Toni (Lizabeth Scott), who’s on parole, and tries to convince Martha to use her influence to keep Toni out of the joint. Nice film noir that tiptoes along that thin line separating noir from melodrama, but the cast is out of sight. Although uncredited, Byron Haskin directed at least part of the film since Lewis Milestone was away from the film for a considerable time adding his support to a set decorators’ strike. Although available on Blu-ray from Film Chest, the reviews are not good. This is another excellent noir that deserves a better restoration.
2 thoughts on “Today on Noir Alley: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)”
I wonder if Douglas looked at this film (and somewhat LETTER, as you mentioned) and thought, “I don’t want to play this type of character again.” Yeah, I think Stanwyck dominated every role she ever played. We really haven’t seen anyone else like her since she left us, at least no one I can think of.
Though its been rediscovered somewhat these last few years this is rarely mentioned when influential noir is discussed but it really does have all the elements. Extra points too for bringing one of the seminal noir women Lizabeth Scott into the fold.
It’s odd to see Kirk Douglas play such a doormat character which he quickly left behind. He was low-key in A Letter to Three Wives as well but nowhere near the spineless dolt he is in this. Someone who isn’t spineless in any way is Barbara Stanwyck adding another fierce portrayal to her gallery. It’s great the way she could change on a dime from silky passion to lethal tigress as well as move between tender heroine, saucy comedienne and heartless shrew with ease and have the public accept her as all of them.
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