The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is a classic film noir from 1946. This film has a lot of unique history to it. It is directing great Lewis Milestone’s only film noir. It is also Kirk Douglas’ first film, recommended for the film by the first couple of noir, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall based on his Broadway acting. We also have “The Threat” Lizabeth Scott in only her second film. Scott may have been called “The Threat” based on her being a possible threat to film noir greats Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake. It’s hard to say if Scott was ever really a threat to those two, but she sure held her own and has earned a right to be named with those two as some of film’s noir favorites. In addition to all this talent we have the two biggest stars of this film being the all time great Barbara Stanwyck and our leading man being Van Heflin. Heflin was coming off of a three-year leave from the movies to serve in World War II.
Our film starts out with Martha as a young girl trying to run away from her overbearing Aunt. She is aided by juvenile delinquent Sam. When Walter tells his father and the police where Martha might be, she is soon caught. After a black out and a scuffle on the stairs Martha hits her Aunt with a poker and she falls to her death down the stairs. We flash forward seventeen years as Sam, played by Heflin is driving by his old hometown, he gets in a car wreck and brings his car into town to be fixed. Sam finds his childhood friends are now prominent fixtures in the small town. Walter played by Douglas is now the D.A. and is married to Martha, played by Stanwyck, who has inherited her Aunts wealth. Sam soon meets ex-con Toni, played by Scott. There is an instant attraction, but when Toni gets in trouble, Sam calls on his old friend, the D.A. Walter to help her.
This is a great film with quite a few plot lines going on. Will Martha’s past come back to haunt her when her best friend from her past comes home? Will Sam use her to help out his new flame? How will Walter react to all of this? What will he do?
This is a must see film noir for all fans of classic film. If you are a fan of any one of the big four stars of this picture you will love it. If you are not a fan of any of these four stars…you need to start watching some of their films!
Favorite Tidbit: This film appears on the television in a scene from last years horror favorite The Babadook.