Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)



“I don't like anybody pushing me around. I don't like anybody pushing you around. I don't like anybody getting pushed around.” 

            I do not know if I did not like The Strange Love of Martha Ivers because I kind of forced myself to watch it or if it was just boring from the beginning. I am saying it was boring from the beginning because even if I forced myself to watch it if it had been good I would have liked it. I think I was expecting better of The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, too, because it is a Barbara Stanwyck film she barely made anything that was subpar.
            In 1928, rich girl Martha Ivers was about to run away from home with a boy named Sam Masterson. She was trying to get away from her controlling aunt (Judith Anderson). Eventually Martha is brought home. The police were lead to where Martha and Sam were by her tutor’s son Walter. Walter’s father is a greedy man who wants nothing more than for his son to have a good reputation and money. Martha tells her aunt that she does not care about being an Ivers she is not an Ivers she is a Smith like her father. Her aunt throws it back in her face that her father was nothing but a mill worker while her mother had all the money. The aunt even had Martha’s last name legally changed to Ivers. Sam comes to the house to try to take Martha away but her cat gets lose so she has Sam get the cat before her aunt can do anything with it. Unfortunately Sam cannot get to the cat because the aunt is around so he runs out of the house. Martha comes down the stairs with Walter. She sees her aunt beating the cat to death and that is when Martha has it she takes her aunt’s cane and pushes the woman down the stairs killing her.
            Seventeen years later, Sam (Van Heflin) is driving along a road with a sailor when his car crashes into a sign for Iverstown. Sam reluctantly goes into town to get his car fixed. He hears over the radio that Martha (Stanwyck) is married to Walter (Kirk Douglas) and he is now the District Attorney. As Sam is walking through town he comes upon a young woman named Toni Marachek (Lizabeth Scott) who is about to leave town. Toni decides to hang back and stay with Sam. She tries to tell him she as in jail for something but he does not care. That night they get separate hotel rooms next to each other. Sam agrees to drive Toni out West
            Martha is upset with Walter because instead of him giving his speech about winning the DA spot she had to give the speech for him. When she gets home he is drunk. He seems like a week, timid man when he says that he is afraid to speak in front of crowds.
            The following day two detectives come to the hotel looking for Toni. She has skipped out on her probation. Sam tries to help her by going to Walter since they used to be friends. Even early in the morning Walter is almost drunk. The two men get along for some time until Martha comes in and Sam tells her who he is. When Sam and Martha leave (separately), Walter has some private detectives look into Sam.
            Martha has Sam come to her house. Sam asks Martha why she is with Walter but she does not want to talk about it. Martha takes him to her old room where they last saw each other. Before Sam leaves, he and Martha kiss.
            The garage where Sam is having his car fixed gets a call from Martha saying to take all their time on fixing the car so Sam can be stalled so he stays in town longer. Walter’s private detective finds out this information. Walter does not take the news too well. He has Toni come and blackmails her into accepting to have something happen to Sam. Sam gets beaten and taken outside the city limits. When Sam comes to he is twenty-none miles away from Iverstown and beaten up pretty good. He managed to rip off a detective’s badge. He goes to Martha’s house to see Walter and he finds out the DA’s plans against him. Walter thinks Sam is trying to blackmail them now.
            Martha begins to play the fallen woman who has not had an easy life. She tells Sam she has really missed him and wishes she was just plain old Martha Smith. She just walks right into the hotel room Sam is in saying she can do whatever she wants she owns the hotel. Martha makes Sam go out with her for the night. They go out to dinner and then to a park where she tells Sam about the night her aunt. She had always thought he had been there but he was not. Martha confesses to having convicted an innocent man so she would not get caught for the murder and that out of that guilt Walter’s father made them marry each other. When they pull into the hotel Toni sees them kissing and she gets upset.
            Walter calls Sam to come over the house for a talk. When Sam gets to the house Walter tells him that Martha has had several other men in her life who she has tried to manipulate so they will fall for her plan to kill him.
            If you do not know that old films always have to have the guilty killed they cannot evade justice I am sure you can figure out the ending somehow. And I must say that the ending for Barbara Stanwyck and Kirk Douglas was fantastic they both played that scene perfectly.
            Barbara Stanwyck was honestly in the film for maybe like twenty minutes out of the hour and fifty-five minute film. She was excellent the woman was such a great actress but I was not too thrilled with her being this melodramatic woman. This was Kirk Douglas’s first film and he was the best part of the film. He was so unbelievably good. He did not need any help from Stanwyck or Van Heflin he definitely held his own and he was fabulous. Van Heflin was good but I am never impressed with him. He was not terrible but he is not memorable. Judith Anderson is only in the film in the first few minutes. Think of her as a strict Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca only she gets killed early on. Lizabeth Scott was terrible for me it was painful to sit through her parts. Her voice annoyed me and so did her face.
            The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is not a particularly good film. I was bored from beginning to end and I think it just had to do with the slow pace and also the fact that I had to kind of force myself to watch it when I was really not in the mood to watch a film (I needed to watch it since I posted it on here). As I said Barbara Stanwyck is fantastic and so is Kirk Douglas so I would say if you really like either actor watch The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. I wrote out the description I hope this does well so you will not have to sit through the whole thing.