The Strange Love of Martha Ivers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
I liked this movie, it's suspenseful and has a good story and good actors too. It doesn't list Kirk Douglas, but he's in the movie too.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
½ December 11, 2009
Martha Ivers, as you will learn in the first 10 minutes of this movie, is crazy. As a young teen, she makes repeated attempts to run away from her stodgy and controlling old aunt (who also happens to be incredibly wealthy) and join the circus along with her hoodlum boyfriend, Sam. However, she is also friends with Walter, the son of her tutor who, although is kind of wimpy and unexciting, none the less sticks by her and entertains her. Certain events take place which, while beneficial to Martha, Walter and his father, lead inadvertantly to Sam leaving town, and he doesn't return home for 18 years. When he does come back, he meets an attractive girl named Toni, and the two are soon (very suggestively) enjoying adjoining hotel rooms. Martha meanwhile, has grown into a giant of industry, creating an enormous amount of the town's wealth through the new factories she's built. Walter too, has done well for himself, he's now the district attorney, running for re-election that is all but guaranteed, "a sure thing". When Toni gets into trouble for parole violation, Sam goes to his old friend Walter to see if he'll get her out of jail as a favor for old times' sake, but Walter sees Sam as a threat. Thinking he's after blackmail, Walter has Sam beaten and dumped on the outskirts of town. But is it blackmail that he's really afraid of, or is it jealousy over Martha? Martha it seems, is only with Walter out of convenience, or even out of fear. Her past binds her to these two men for life you see, and whereas Walter she can control, Sam she has no power over, and it makes her crazy, or horny, or both. It's a recurring theme between Martha and Sam, she tries to kill him, he gets all worked up and starts kissing her. It's rather unusual to find in a 1940s movie a hero making love to a married woman (even The Big Sleep's story was changed to keep Philip Marlowe from committing adultery). In fact, it's rather difficult to side with Sam at all, as he plays tough guy with the ladies, makes love to married women and in the end, does attempt a blackmailing racket on the married couple after all. The Martha Ivers character is never satisfactorily explored; is she manipulative and vindictive, or is she just sad, scared and mentally unbalanced? It's all the more strange that, out of all the leading characters, she's one of the more minor ones of the film (despite the star power of Barbara Stanwyck and the fact that it's the title role), taking a backseat to Toni (Lizabeth Scott), Walter (Kirk Douglas) and Sam (Van Heflin). The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is about watching some unpleasant or amoral people doing unpleasant and amoral things. I don't think there's one sympathetic character in the whole movie. Also, I'm not so sure some of the elements in the film have aged that gracefully: the dialogue (or is it the acting?) Van Heflin engages the two females in is a little cheesy at times (and alot cheesy at others). Still, for a piece of 1940s mainstream filmmaking, it plays loose with the moral codes of that era and gives us a subliminable kinky subtext.
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2009
Whether its paperback fiction like Lady of Burlesque, or a tear-jerker like Stella Dallas, or the noir-ish suspense of The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Barbara Stanwyck delivers. I just can't take my eyes off of her. She's never just set dressing, even when she's silent she speaks volumes. Wow.

*NOTE: Does anyone else think that Lizabeth Scott looks like a poor man's Lauren Bacall?
Super Reviewer
February 12, 2008
This movie has possibly the most mela-dramatic music ever.

Acting is solid all round, and the direction is great. Unfortunately the story is the big let down here with a rubbish ending.
Super Reviewer
½ January 12, 2008
This is less a showcase of Barbara Stanwyck than it is a memorable screen debut for Kirk Douglas. But if you like Stanwyck, this is definitely worth the watch. She can definitely play characters from one end of the complexity spectrum to the other, always with depth. Naughty or nice, she brings everything to the table.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2007
Barbara is evil as only she can be
Super Reviewer
½ December 26, 2006
Stanwyck was great even if the movie wasn't.
Super Reviewer
September 26, 2010
Black-and-white film noir released in the United States in 1946, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott and an young Kirk Douglas in his film debut. The movie is based on the short story "Love Lies Bleeding" by playwright John Patrick, using the pseudonym Jack Patrick, and was produced by Hal B. Wallis. The screenplay was written by Robert Rossen and Robert Riskin, who was not credited, and was directed by Lewis Milestone. The film was entered into the 1947 Cannes Film FestivalOn a rainy night in 1928 in a Pennsylvania factory town called Iverstown, Martha Ivers (Janis Wilson), a young girl yearning to escape from the guardianship of her wealthy, domineering aunt, is caught trying to run away with her friend, the street-smart, poor Sam Masterson (Darryl Hickman).[2] Martha is taken home. Later that night, Sam comes for her, but hides when her aunt hears Martha's beloved cat wandering on the staircase. When Mrs. Ivers attacks the pet with her cane Martha intervenes, with fatal consequences.
Dark and shadly with depressing atmosphere this is a great movie.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2008
Unnecessary extra half hour in a fine (up to a point) soft-core thriller.I won't complain much about the relatively "slow" timeline although I must state it's the almost forgettable due to Douglas' overacting and fake rudeness of his character which ruins the whole of the film.Milestone shows hints of steady cuts and a smooth tempo fit to the U.S. 40's mood but that's not enough for someone to discover something original to the storyline.
Super Reviewer
½ July 14, 2008
Paranoia, lust, guilt, fear, suspense and intrigue combine in a movie which kept me hooked until the very end. Nice twist too! Definitely worth checking out if you're a Stanwyck fan. She was amazing, as always! Kirk Douglas in his film debut also gives a strong performance.

As for those who have pointed out the Lizabeth Scott/Lauren Bacall similarities, I must agree!
January 9, 2014
A little something off the To-Watch Pile for Movie Shame Monday and a lot of fun, with a great turn from Kirk Douglas as a wild card thrown back into the lives of his childhood friends, who remain convinced that he witnessed their crime and is there to blackmail them in some fashion.

It's interesting to watch the 'little guy' square off against the rich and powerful, if only because they think they can bully him around.

Well worth a look if you can catch it on cable or track it down for rental.
May 29, 2008
This movie was okay, it was really long and predictable. The role that Lizabeth Scott played just really annoyed me. I'm not sure if it was her acting or just her, but I know the movie probably whould have been ten times better without her character.
½ May 26, 2008
i like the story of this movie.....{lizabeth scott reminds me of lauren bacall; they have very strong simiiarities}....Stanwyck's performance's A-OK! Van Heflin's also great, & the same with the young Kirk Douglas.
½ June 20, 2007
An amazing movie. I saw it on Denver's art channel when I was bored and totally got sucked in. Kirk Douglas does an amazing job, Barbara Stanwyck is really creepy and you can't help but be sympathetic towards Lizabeth Scott and Van Heflin.
½ December 23, 2006
"Don't look back, you know what happen to Lock's wife." Not my favorite Stanwyck film but it does have a good theme about not looking back on one's life. This theme was foreshadow at the begging of the film when Sam (Heflin) crashed his car because he was looking back at a sign: "the road curved, i didn't." This theme was carried through out the movie till the tradgic ending of Martha and her husband who were so paranoid of their past.
November 17, 2014
In my eyes Janis Wilson whom played the young Martha Ivers stole the whole show!
August 2, 2014
I have my reservations when it comes to Barbara Stanwyck.
September 23, 2013
Interesting film noir for which a young Martha Ivers (Janis Wilson) attempts to run away with a boy before her controlling, rich aunt (Judith Anderson) intervenes. Instead, Ivers pushes her aunt down a flight of stairs in her mansion and she dies upon impact. As a result, Ivers (Barbara Stanwyck) cannot shake the guilt of her aunts death and is courted now by a another man (Kirk Douglas in his screen debut), who also witnessed her aunt's death when he was child and convinces to forget about her death. However, her runaway boy (Van Heflin) returns, but he is wooed by a younger woman (Lizabeth Scott). Pretty compelling story that leads to a tragic and satisfying conclusion. I like many film noir mysteries and this one that had a sufficient amount of suspense attached to the atmosphere. Pretty nice.
April 30, 2013
I saw this movie many years ago (mainly because of Barbara Stanwyck-one of my favorite actresses) and remembered it as being loooooooong. I just saw it again today and actually really enjoyed this time. Filled with gem performances by a fine cast-Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Kirk Douglas and Lizabeth Scott in a kind of 'Gothic' film noir that has not gotten the kind of respect it deserves.
August 26, 2012
Despite having a very interesting main idea, "The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers" doesn't manage to become particularly remarkable. The script is uneven, the acting either hyperbolic or plain uninteresting (only Kirk Douglas is actually good in what was his first role) and, overall, there's nothing really memorable about it all. It does have some good scenes and ideas, but it's too long and unfocused.
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