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Nunnally Johnson
Joanne Woodward, David Wayne, Lee J. Cobb, Edwin Jerome, Alena Murray, Nancy Kulp, Douglas Spencer, Terry Ann Ross
Writing Credits:
Corbett Thigpen (book), Hervey M. Cleckley (book), Nunnally Johnson

Eve's husband puts her in therapy, where Eve discovers that her blackouts stem from a rare multiple personality condition. This acclaimed psychological drama brilliantly explores the dimensions of the human mind.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Spanish Dolby Digital Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 11/5/2013

• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Aubrey Solomon
• Fox Movietone Newsreel
• Trailer


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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The Three Faces Of Eve [Blu-Ray] (1957)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 25, 2013)

Possibly more than anything before or since, 1957’s The Three Faces of Eve led to greater public awareness and understanding of multiple personality disorders. Folks in that era tended to view psychiatry as a cure for society’s ills, and the misbegotten Eve bears out that attitude.

Eve opens with an awkward introduction from narrator Alistair Cooke, as he lets us know that we’ll see a true story unfold in front of us and sets up the situations and characters. We learn that in August 1951, Eve White (Joanne Woodward) goes to see psychiatrist Dr. Luther (Lee J. Cobb) because she suffers from headaches and blackout spells. She lives with her gruff husband Ralph (David Wayne) and four-year-old daughter Bonnie (Terry Ann Ross). Sadly, they lost a baby only a few months earlier.

Dr. Luther treats Eve and she seems to improve, but in the spring of 1952, she again runs into problems. Ralph finds some gaudy clothes that he thinks Eve purchased, but she denies it even when a salesclerk verifies her activities. When Ralph reacts angrily, Eve suffers another “spell” and attempts to strangle Bonnie.

They return to Dr. Luther, and Eve tells him she sometimes hears voices that tell her to do things like leave Ralph. She shows the source of these orders when she switches personalities during the session into “Eve Black”, a bawdy, fun-loving party girl. The rest of the movie follows her treatment for multiple personalities and all the events that make her recovery difficult, including the eventual emergence of “Jane”, a third “face”.

Woodward won an Oscar for her performance(s), and she fully deserved that prize. Woodward and Woodward alone almost makes this tripe work. She occasionally comes across as a little theatrical, but she usually balances the three personalities well. Not surprisingly, Eve Black is the broadest and cartoonist of the bunch, but Woodward manages to bring humanity to her, and the other two feel like believable personalities. It’s a deft and smooth performance.

Without Woodward, this film would genuinely stink. Every era has its well-meaning films that detail various health issues, but I find those of the Forties and Fifties to seem especially stiff and condescending. I don’t doubt that the filmmakers intended to do public good with their works, and I also know that flicks like Eve helped provide better public understanding of various maladies. Granted, multiple personalities are too rare for greater awareness to really matter - it’s not like there are thousands of sufferers who need compassion - but hopefully movies of this sort give the public broader awareness of and sensitivity to general psychological issues.

Unfortunately, the film promotes understanding but fails to offer a coherent and compelling narrative. Movies of this sort often feel like little more than public service announcement. Eve barely elevates itself above the level of the sort of film we’d see in high school health classes. It tries too hard to educate and doesn’t care if it entertains or moves us.

This means that much of the time, Eve comes across as little more than a filmed case study. A chatty flick, it doesn’t understand that movies work best when they show and don’t tell. It spells out everything and doesn’t attempt to use the medium to its advantage.

A stodgy social commentary, The Three Faces of Eve gets points for a strong lead performance. Actually, all the actors do well, even though none other than Woodward gets much meat into which to sink their teeth. Unfortunately, awkward pacing and too much explicit exposition bogs down Eve and makes it a pedantic chore to watch.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

The Three Faces of Eve appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The Blu-ray gave us an appealing presentation.

Sharpness appeared solid. A few wide shots could be a little soft, but those instances remained infrequent, so the majority of the flick was accurate and concise. I noticed no issues connected to jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes failed to appear. Natural grain came along the way, so I didn’t suspect any digital noise reduction issues.

Blacks looked nicely deep and firm, and low-light shots demonstrated solid clarity and definition, with no issues connected to excessive opacity. A few early shots looked a bit bright, but otherwise contrast was positive. I noticed no print flaws in this clean image. This was an impressive transfer.

Eve came with a competent DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack. Speech showed a little edginess, but the lines remained reasonably warm and natural. Effects and music displayed similar dynamics; the elements lacked much punch but they sounded reasonably clear and tight. While nothing here excelled, I thought the mono track merited a “B-“.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2004 DVD? Audio was a little broader and smoother, while visuals seemed cleaner, tighter and more film-like. The Blu-ray was definitely the stronger presentation.

The DVD’s extras repeat here. The prime attraction stems from an audio commentary with film historian Aubrey Solomon, as he offers a running, screen-specific discussion. He opens with a look at the story’s history and cinematic development and then goes into the efforts to find an Eve. Solomon mentions a number of actresses considered for the part and tells us a little about Woodward.

From there we learn a little about the score and the various participants. He gets into a particularly good examination of director Nunnally Johnson’s career and time at Fox; as part of that, he provides a short history of Cinemascope and other subjects related to the studio. Solomon also occasionally compares the script to the finished product, and we find out about cut sequences; it turns out the original cut of the movie ran 30 minutes longer than the ultimate version.

When Solomon talks, he usually offers appropriate notes. However, he falls silent too much of the time. Dead air stands as the main problem with this commentary. Despite that flaw, the piece includes more than enough good material to make it a positive experience.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a Movietone Newsreel called “Academy Awards”. The two-minute and 22-second clip shows highlights of the year’s ceremony at which Woodward won an Oscar. It’s mildly interesting.

While I admire the attempts made to educate the public about mental health issues, The Three Faces of Eve is too awkward and stilted to turn into a good movie. When the film succeeds, it does so due to a strong lead performance by Joanne Woodward; without her, it would have been a disaster. The Blu-ray offers solid picture, acceptable audio and a useful commentary. I like the quality of this release but find too many flaws in the film itself.

To rate this film visit the Fox Studio Classics Edition review of THE THREE FACES OF EVE

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