Whirlpool

Preminger sank deep into Freud's couch for Whirlpool, his most overtly psychological noir. In one of her fuller-bodied roles, Gene Tierney plays Ann, an emotionally distraught klepto married to famed psychoanalyst Dr. Bill Sutton (Richard Conte). Ann comes under the sway of a smarmy hypnotist, the suave but creepy Dr. Korvo (Jose Ferrer), who promises to release her from her compulsion to steal. Down, down she goes, pulled into a vortex of blackmail, double-dealing, and murder. And as the eddies collide and wash back, even the astute Dr. Sutton falls to his suspicions that Ann is consorting with Korvo. Preminger fills this mental maelstrom with deceit and misdirection as Ann's grip on reality loosens. Even the psychological underpinnings of the plot are suspect as quack mesmerist and certified shrink vie for Ann's sanity, a byproduct of male manhandling. Full of perverse pleasure, Whirlpool will pull you down through turbulence and into the crazy calm.

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