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10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training12 and Holding3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days49 Up5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band56 UpA Beautiful MindA Dangerous MethodA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Short Stay in SwitzerlandA.M. 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Joanne Woodwood won an Oscar for
her performance in The Three Faces of Eve as a woman from Augusta, Georgia, and this made her a star. She plays a conservative southern housewife
Eve White who transforms into a bold and bawdy woman Eve Black. The movie is
introduced by Alistair Cooke, who emphasizes that the events depicted really
happened. Audiences and reviewers may have found it difficult to accept the
rapid transformations from one personality to another, yet they were based on
films of the actual Eve, whose name was Chris Sizemore. For a 1957 movie, it
is still entertaining and informative.
The Three Faces of Eve was an
influential movie for psychiatry, because it made the public aware of the
diagnosis of multiple personality disorder (MPD), and arguably was partly
responsible for the massive rise in the number of diagnoses of MPD in later
years. As Aubrey Solomon explains in his informative DVD commentary, the movie
screenplay was based on the best-selling book by psychiatrists Corbett Thigpen
and Harvey Cleckley; director Nunnally Johnson wrote the screenplay, had access
to the proofs of the book before it was published, and even influenced the
psychiatrists in their choice of the title of the book. Solomon did careful
research for his commentary, comparing the book, screenplay and the final
movie, and explaining many of the differences between them. He also discusses
the difficulties that Johnson had in finding a leading actor to play Eve: he
approached many actresses before finally Joanne Woodward agreed to do it -- at
one point Judy Garland had agreed to play the part, but that arrangement fell
through. Solomon also points out that Johnson was not a great director, and
relied mainly on his scriptwriting talents. Shot in extra-wide Cinemascope,
the movie does not present a very intimate portrayal of Eve, using hardly any
close-ups of faces. It is more of a drama, even with moments of humor, for
example from whether her husband was unfaithful to Eve White when he had sex
with the other personality Eve Black. Solomon explains that the humor of the
movie received criticism from those who thought the subject deserved a more
sober treatment. It's an interesting dilemma for directors, since there is
real potential for seeing the funny side to the problems faced by those with
such serious mental troubles. (Compare the use of humor in Jack Nicholson's
portrayal of a man suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder in James L.
Brooks' As Good As It Gets.) The humor does not make belittle Eve
White, although it has to be said that the suggestive Eve Black, accompanied by
a theme of sultry music, is a hard character to take seriously.
By contemporary standards, The
Three Faces of Eve is a naïve representation of multiple personality. It
only gestures towards the childhood abuse that probably caused the
dissociation, and this was largely because of the censorship of the 1950s that
would not allow any depiction of sexual events in the lives of children. Now
we are much more aware of the dangers of therapists increasing dissociation
through hypnosis and encouragement of the separate personalities to distinguish
themselves, and of course there's no mention of those worries, even in
Solomon's commentary. Still, for all its shortcomings, The Three Faces of
Eve is worth seeing as an important moment in the portrayal of psychiatry
© 2006 Christian
Perring. All rights reserved.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews. His main
research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.
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