The Cobweb (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vincente Minnelli|
|Produced by||John Houseman
|Written by||John Paxton
William Gibson (novel)
|Music by||Leonard Rosenman|
|Editing by||Harold F. Kress|
|Release dates||July 15, 1955|
|Running time||124 minutes|
|Box office||$1.5 million (US)|
The Cobweb (1955) is a MGM film. It was directed by Vincente Minnelli and based on a novel by William Gibson. It was released on DVD as part of the Warner Archive Collection on January 18, 2011.
The film features an elite cast, revolving around the disturbed psyches of inmates and staff members at a posh psychiatric clinic. Stewart McIver (Richard Widmark) leads the way as the head of the clinic, while his wife Karen (Gloria Grahame) takes it upon herself to select new drapes for the hospital's library. These seemingly ordinary drapes set off a melodrama with an equal amount of love and lunacy.
The opening credits are followed by the following onscreen words:
"The trouble began."
At the end of the film, the words appear onscreen.
"The trouble was over"
Dr. Stewart McIver is now in charge of a psychiatric facility, one run for many years by medical director Dr. Douglas Devanal.
McIver must address the needs of a number of disturbed patients, among them Steven Holte, a possibly suicidal artist, and the self-loathing Mr. Capp. All of his responsibilities keep McIver so busy that his wife, Karen, feels increasingly frustrated and ignored.
When new drapes are needed for the clinic's library, the dour and penny-pinching Victoria Inch orders unattractive ones. Karen McIver takes it upon herself to buy a more expensive and colorful set instead, gaining the approval of chairman of the board Regina Mitchell-Smythe but without the knowledge of her husband. What should be an insignificant matter is complicated further by Dr. McIver giving the patients, principally Stevie, permission to design and create the new drapes themselves.
Personalities clash. Dr. Devanal, who has a drinking problem, has been having an affair with his secretary Miss Cobb and makes a clumsy pass at McIver's wife as well. McIver begins to fall in love with Meg Rinehart, a member of his staff. Vicki Inch privately schemes to expose the unseemly behavior of Devanal at the next meeting of the board and issues a veiled threat to do so to McIver as well, while Devanal's wife mistakenly believes McIver to be behind the plot to discredit her husband.
Having felt stable enough to go on a date with Sue Brett, another patient, Stevie Holt is very upset to discover that new drapes have been installed, not the ones his artwork was meant to inspire. He disappears, causing a search party to look for him and McIver to fear a suicide.
In the end, Stevie reappears, the McIvers agree to work on their marriage and Miss Inch decides not to disclose everyone's actions. A grateful Dr. Devanal, his reputation intact, submits his resignation to the board.
- Richard Widmark ... Dr. Stewart McIver
- Lauren Bacall ......... Meg Rinehart
- Charles Boyer ........ Dr. Devanal
- Gloria Grahame ...... Karen McIver
- Lillian Gish ............. Victoria Inch
- John Kerr ............... Steven W. Holte
- Susan Strasberg ..... Sue Brett
- Oscar Levant ......... Mr. Capp
- Tommy Rettig ........ Mark McIver
- Paul Stewart .......... Dr. Otto Wolff
- Adele Jergens .......... Miss Cobb
- Mabel Albertson ........... Regina Mitchell-Smythe
- Fay Wray .............. Edna Devanal
- Eve McVeagh............Mrs. Shirley Irwin
The first release of portions of the score was on MGM Records on LP in 1957. The complete score in stereo was issued on cd in 2003, on Film Score Monthly records.