The Three Faces of Eve
1957 was a landmark year for controversial Hollywood films. Exposing the hypocrisy of middle-American morals, "Peyton Place" was an all-out sensation. Films like "Sayonara" and "Island in the Sun" pushed the envelope on issues of racial prejudice. "The Three Faces of Eve" proved a groundbreaking, psychiatric study of multiple personality disorder.
With mostly television appearances, and just a few films to her credit, Joanne Woodward was given the demanding title role of Eve White, a mousey, Southern housewife with two other distinct personalities. As Eve Black, she transforms into a lascivious party-girl, and, as Jane, a sedate, intelligent lady. Her virtuoso performance won her the Best Actress Oscar, an accolade she wrested from favorite Lana Turner, who portrayed Peyton Place matriarch Constance McKenzie.
As the film was based on a true story, it is presented in a quasi-documentary style, with British broadcaster Alistair Cooke, in his only film appearance, introducing the movie, and interspersing narration in the course of the action. Master storyteller Nunnally Johnson acted as producer, director and writer, giving Woodward the big break which catapulted her to stardom. David Wayne played Eve's dense, unsympathetic husband. As the dedicated psychiatrist who diagnoses and treats the heroine, the incomparable Lee J. Cobb is terrific, as always. In spite of the predictable, Hollywood ending, Eve's pat, complete cure, the film is often quite convincing and remains engrossing throughout.
For its new Blu-ray of "The Three Faces of Eve," 20th Century Fox offers a pristine, black & white transfer which is a marginal improvement over even its immaculate 2004 DVD edition. The high-definition print yields sharp resolution,and presents the film in its original 2.35:1 Cinemascope aspect ratio. The extras include film commentary, theatrical trailer and footage from the Academy Awards ceremony in which Woodward receives her Oscar from John Wayne. Breaking down to just under $7. per "personality," the new "Three Faces..." Blu-ray is a good value.
Following her Oscar-winning performance, Woodward went on to play a lengthy string of celebrated roles. One was in a 1976 TV movie which allowed her to switch gears, and play the nurturing psychiatrist who treats a multiple personality patient named Sibyl.
The Three faces of Eve