Joanne Woodward's showy but nonetheless highly impressive performance in the tile role required her to play three roles with enough separation in the characterizations to make the audience believe she was a woman with a trio of personalities bubbling inside her. Woodward is married to
Wayne, an insensitive clod. She is emotionally disturbed, has headaches, and forgets things, so she decides she needs the professional help of a psychiatrist, although Wayne thinks she's faking it. At first, Cobb, the doctor, gives her the usual advice: get more rest, try to calm down, etc.
Woodward goes home to Wayne and her daughter, Ross, but her mental woes continue. She returns to Cobb's office later, but instead of being an unsure housewife, she is suddenly a loose woman with an attitude of total irresponsibility. She denies being the mother of Ross and lives for hedonistic
pleasure. Wayne is rapidly getting disgusted with Woodward, but Cobb is intrigued when one of Woodward's personality switches occurs while she's in his presence. Eventually, a third person emerges. This one is a well-balanced woman who speaks in a different pattern. Whereas the first two talk in
southern dialect, this one sounds as though she went to Cornell and graduated summa cum laude. Cobb uses hypnotic techniques on Woodward and is able to conjure up each "face" by merely suggesting that she step forward. The next step is to try to merge the three faces of Eve.
It's an interesting psychological tale that is not without humor, much of which is supplied by the witty narration of Alistair Cooke. The movie is based on a true story, documented by the psychiatrists who treated the woman in real life, but the ultimate solution as represented is both too
simplistic and underexplained. The film is basically a two-character piece featuring Woodward and Cobb and probably would have made a very good play. Cinematically, it's lacking on several levels. Wayne, a marvelous actor, was apparently directed to play his role for laughs in order to take the
edge off Woodward's dramatics. The mixture of styles works against the ultimate outcome.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Joanne Woodward's showy but nonetheless highly impressive performance in the tile role required her to play three roles with enough separation in the characterizations to make the audience believe she was a woman with a trio of personalities bubbling insid… (more)