The residents of Peyton Place, New Hampshire, are not happy when its most famous resident, Alison Mackenzie, writes a "shocking" novel detailing the sinful secrets of the town. Most ... See full summary »
The original primetime soap took place in the title town, which was founded by the Peyton family, whose members included the Harringtons. Some of the plots involved Rodney Harrington, the ... See full summary »
When her lover is killed, the wife of a wealthy man is convinced to fake her own death, which leads her into greater depths of depravity until fate reunites her with her long-lost son, who is unaware of her real identity.
David Lowell Rich
It's the pre-WWII era. Peyton Place is a small town in New England, whose leading adult citizens rule the town with their high moral standards, which they try to pass on to their offspring. The adults, especially those that wield power largely through their positions and/or through their wealth, will not tolerate anything they believe morally improper, even if there is a hint of impropriety without comprehensive evidence to back up the hints. As their offspring grow from teenagers to adults, the offspring learn that there is much hypocrisy by the adults lying underneath that façade of proper Christian morals. The offspring begin to rebel in different ways, which is brought to public scrutiny with the arrival into town of an "outsider", the new young high school principal Michael Rossi, and through a murder trial.Written by
The scenes of the church bulletin boards shows that the rector of St Thomas' Episcopal Church is the Rev. Haig Nargesian. The movie is set in the early 1940s, Rev. Nargesian did not begin his time at St Thomas' until 1950. See more »
Lana Turner gets top billing in this film adaptation of Grace Metalious' scandalous novel, Peyton Place, a small town in the New England states just before WWII. The reason the book was so scandalous at the time was because it dealt with things that were not dealt with in families nor spoke of in decent company: getting involved with a married man, incest, or just being lonely and scared of growing up or the opposite sex. Family #1: Mother Lana Turner owns a dress shop, and her daughter Diane Varsi is the class valedictorian. There's a story there. Another family: Betty Field's first husband died, so she married Arthur Kennedy, so that her three children would have a father figure. But he drank and was rough on the boys, particularly the oldest son, Ben, which led up to him leaving home, which begins the movie. That leaves daughter Hope Lange and a younger boy at home. Another family: Father Leon Ames, whose son Barry Coe likes the school tramp Terry Moore, and vice versa. Then there's Mildred Dunnock who's a teacher who has seniority to become principal, now that the last one has recently died. But the school board elects to hire one from out of town. Enter Lee Philips. Then, there's Russ Tamblyn, whose life is being monopolized by a domineering mother who is trying to make him hate all girls. Then there's Lloyd Nolan, who's the friendly town doctor, who is pressed to go beyond the call of duty to help others. And, there's also the town gossipers, who spread it like wildfire.
Being a Lana Turner fan, I may have seen this film more than the average person. But instead of falling head over heels for it, I do see its limitations. One of the film's strengths is almost its undoing or worst criticism. Its study or treatment of the town's citizens (and their problems) is like that of a bird's eye view, allowing us to see their world without being judgmental of their actions or feelings, and is therefore a straightforward account of what happens to them. But, by doing so, it feels emotionally aloof and we, the viewer, don't connect enough to anyone in particular. The film's main success is in the production values and how they complement the actors using their craft. The actors that really come off the best are Terry Moore, as the town tramp (who's really not that bad;) Diane Varsi (as the daughter who discovers who or what she really is;) Arthur Kennedy as the town drunk, who's totally in character; Lloyd Nolan, as the doctor providing care and common sense to those that will listen; and lastly Lana Turner, who was given only one Oscar nomination in her movie career, for this film. In fact, in my opinion, the film's best scene belongs to her and the principal, played by Lee Philips, when he tells her that he cares for her and he expects the same adult feelings from her, without it being dirty. That may be the scene that earned her the nomination more than the courtroom scene.
While I have always liked Hope Lange, the presentation of the events in her life does not draw the viewer in or make us care enough. It feels too artificial to matter and does not come across as real. But the opening score that accompanies the credits is so moving, that the last time I saw this film, I had to listen to it twice and I was almost brought to tears. "Peyton Place" may be from the imagination of Grace Metalious, but these people and events are portrayed in the film, as if this could have been, but for the Grace of God, you or me given the circumstances, and that we are all looking for love and acceptance in another. This also is showing the misfortune of people to allow you the chance to see things from a different perspective. Open your heart and see yourself in another's place. "Peyton Place" is a film about people.
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