Susan Slade (1961)

Genres - Drama  |   Release Date - Nov 8, 1961 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 116 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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A trite, ridiculous and, to modern audiences, unbelievable soap opera, Susan Slade is nevertheless kind of fun, in a campy, trashy way. If you are willing to give in to Delmer Daves' cliché-ridden, corny screenplay and let his slick direction carry you away, Slade will provide a decent amount of guilty entertainment. However, if you are unwilling to do this -- and if you have any resistance to cringe-inducing dialogue, superficial characters, heavy melodrama and hairpin plot twists, you fit into this category -- then Slade will be almost intolerable. Slade does, however, have a few things going for it that can be appreciate by all tastes. As mentioned, Daves' direction has its advantages. Yes, it's all superficial, but it's very well crafted and the smoothness of his work in context is admirable. There also are some very fine performances from Dorothy McGuire and Lloyd Nolan that rise above the terrible lines they are given to say. Connie Stevens can't quite rise as high, unfortunately, but her performance is very game and, when the lines aren't too terrible, quite good. Best of all, though, is Lucien Ballard's lush, lush, LUSH photography, a candy-colored yummy treat. Social historians will also enjoy dissecting Slade for what it has to say about the morals and mores of its day, and will find Dorothy McGuire's performance especially says a lot about mothers that were both self sacrificing and manipulative.