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Movie Info

At a psychiatric clinic for the elite, Dr. Stewart McIver (Richard Widmark) wants to institute a policy of self-governance among his patients. To further his goals, Dr. McIver proposes that residents collaborate to design and make new drapes for the clinic library. Though it seems inconsequential, trouble ensues when the clinic patients become locked in a power struggle with the equally unbalanced staff, including activities director Meg Rinehart (Lauren Bacall).

Cast & Crew

Richard Widmark
Dr. Stewart "Mac" McIver
Lauren Bacall
Meg Faversen Rinehart
Charles Boyer
Dr. Douglas N. Devanal
Gloria Grahame
Karen McIver
Lillian Gish
Victoria Inch
John Kerr
Steven W. Holte
Paul Stewart
Dr. Otto Wolff
John Paxton
Writer (Screenplay)
William Gibson
Writer (Novel)
Jud Kinberg
Associate Producer
Leonard Rosenman
Original Music
George J. Folsey
Cinematographer
E. Preston Ames
Art Direction
Cedric Gibbons
Art Direction
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Critic Reviews for The Cobweb

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Cobweb

  • May 29, 2012
    Minnelli managed to assemble an all star cast for such a strange concept. On paper it would seem like the plot of a screwball comedy but the movie is played completely straight, and is all the worse for it. You'll be screaming at the characters to lighten up. None of them are particularly likable, neither inmates or administrators. You would think someone with as much experience of clinics as Minnelli had, thanks to his estranged wife, would give us more of an insight. The patients just aren't convincing enough and are reduced to big name extras. The administrative staff are given cliched storylines to follow. If there are any central characters it's Widmark and Grahame, a bickering married couple. Bacall is completely wasted in a throwaway role as a chain-smoking activities director. Levant is perfectly cast as an inmate but doesn't get enough screen time to exploit his melancholy persona. Perhaps the movie would have fared better had it been made twenty years later. With it's sprawling cast it resembles the films of Altman but Minnelli couldn't call on the technology that allowed Altman his famous overlapping dialogue. Considering the subject matter the movie is far too sane. A seventies version would have allowed a lot more freedom to explore the issues. At one point, young inmates Kerr and Strasberg leave the clinic for a night at the cinema. A metaphor perhaps for Minnelli's plunging himself into his work to escape the grim reality of life with Judy? There have been some great movies set on psychiatric wards, "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest", "Shock Corridor", but I wouldn't bother booking yourself in for treatment here.
    The Movie W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2011
    It's all about the DRAPES!!!! Truly odd film is loaded with great actors and a ludicrous story. How it ever got the green light from the studio is mystery number one, that Vincente Minnelli said okay to directing it is the second although that would explain why so many great actors allowed themselves to be involved. Laughable take on mental health but good for one fun viewing as a camp catastrophe.
    jay n Super Reviewer

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