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*Introduced by Foster Hirsch

U.S., 1955
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Starring Richard Widmark, Lauren Bacall, Charles Boyer, Gloria Grahame, Lillian Gish
Approx. 124 mins. 35mm.

“Charles Boyer is the head of the clinic, a secret alcoholic worried about competition from hotshot young shrink Richard Widmark. Widmark, in turn, is caught in a triangle with his childish wife (Gloria Grahame) and an understanding colleague (Lauren Bacall). Among the guest loonies are Oscar Levant (who sings “Mother” in a straitjacket), Lillian Gish, Susan Strasberg, Fay Wray, John Kerr, Paul Stewart, and Adele Jergens; John Houseman produced.” – Dave Kehr “Minnelli uses empty space at the margins of the CinemaScope frame to emphasize the alienation of the inmates from one another as well as from their embattled over-seers, and long shots of deserted corridors suggest the existential, no-exit vacuum of the characters’ lives. Naysayers refer to the film as “The Drapes of Wrath,” but in fact for those who get it this oddity is one of the era’s hidden treasures.” – Foster Hirsch


“Art and science, the personal and the professional, and the rule and the exception converge with volatile flamboyance in Vincente Minnelli’s melodrama … Minnelli deftly choreographs the taut histrionics of the colorful cast—including Lauren Bacall, as a widowed art therapist, and Oscar Levant, as a grandiloquent wreck—and his operatic CinemaScope images blend the mood management of fashion photography with the organized frenzy of Baroque frescoes.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Yes, what a cast! But what an institution! And jumping Jehosaphat, what a picture!”
– H. H. T., The New York Times

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