Peyton Place (1957)

A breathtaking movie that focuses on the moral dilemmas in small town America.  Everybody has a secret, and some people’s secrets are open to the public, and other people’s secrets are buried deep in the past.  This movie develops human interest stories and characters as well as any other movie, and reminds us all that the good are usually not as good as we think, and the bad a lot better than we expect.  all of this drama is set in a picturesque New England setting which makes this movie EXQUISITE.

I absolutely love this movie for it’s content, the questions and thoughts it provokes, and  for its contrast in colors and beauty with weighty, moral topics.  This movie was nominated for 9 Academy Awards and when you watch it, you will know why.

MORAL DILEMMAS
Unwanted pregnancy, illegitimacy, sexual assault, promiscuity, hints of incest and teen sex are just a few of the hot button topics of the ’50’s that are found in the story.

However, this movie is very classy.  It dances around these topics, but in a way that would pass the censorship board of the 1950’s.  In today’s term this movie would be PG-13 at worst.  It shows the “generation gap” that can happen when parents put unrealistic expectations (or in some cases abuse) on their children.

THE ACTORS
Some really great performances here, starting with Lana Turner who really plays an unusual role.  She is not the “sexy hot bombshell”, quite the opposite she is a celibate, single mother who rules her child with absolute rules and regulations.  She is a prude.  But she also hides her own dark secret, which no one knows about.  Here hair in a different color (darker) in this movie.

Hope Lange is a beautiful, tortured teen with a parents that abuse and she seeks escape from her “home life.”

So many other memorable performances in this movie, as you really get know a lot of people from this fictional town of Peyton Place.

THE CONTRASTS
This movie is a shark display of contrasts.  On one had the beautiful sets, homes, and scenery of nature, churches, and buildings make this movie so beautiful.

On the other hand, there are the dark secrets and moral acts that hide in the dark making this movie acknowledge thae we many have to face the realities of life being not so perfect, and in many cases-it is an all out struggle to deal with emotions, decisions, and consequences.

Then a terrible accident shakes the town, and a courtroom trial.

THE ENDING
A beautiful ending which basically says that at the end of the day, no matter what our circumstances, our background, or our upbringing, people come together in a time of crisis.  Peyton Place is a grand soap opera, which brings to light so many questions, and in some ways answers them, and in other ways lets the viewer decide who is right, and who is wrong!  This is a truly great movie…one you will remember for a long, long time.

9 Stars…a great movie to watch once a year, but not one to view over and over as it is just too deep, and at times too distressing.

Todd Morgan
About Todd Morgan 56 Articles
Todd is one of nation's top classic movie experts, with a passion and determination to help the younger generation discover some of the truly greatest movies ever made. Todd reviews 2-3 movies every week and also prepares classic movie trivia, lists, writes books, and develops games all on Classic Movies. Contact him at classicmovieguy.com@gmail.com.

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