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The Three Faces of Eve (1957), Joanne Woodward

“The Three Faces of Eve” is among the first feature films of the 1950s that tended to have the structure of a documentary film or a docudrama. There are several reasons for this. First, from the very beginning there is a presenter who reveals to the audiences that the story they will see is the true story of a woman with serious psychiatric problems. It was a rare case of mutiple personality disorder that was very famous in the 1950s. Moreover, the audiences are very much aware of the fact that what they will see it’s not an artistic movie, which creates its own world (a way to escape from reality), but it’s a reproduction of reality itself – which is typical to a documentary, a scientific film. Another important aspect is the presence of the narrator as the so-called “Voice of God”. The storytelling lacks of emotions from the narrative voice, which is rather ferm, calm and objective. The main characters of the film are Eve and Jane, masterfully played by actress Joanne Woodward, who earned an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actress. I was deeply touched by Miss Woodward’s outstanding and, at the same time, incredibly realistic performance. The way she changes her characters’ moods almost from one minute to another was certainly impressive, as well as the change in her looks. It was unusual to see such a drama, with such a difficult subject. The director and co-writer of the story was the famous filmmaker, Nunnally Johnson. The cast also included the great actor Lee J. Cobb, in the role of the doctor who tries to treat Eve. Joanne Woodward plays in this film three different parts – three women, each with her own personality: Eve Black, Eve White, and Jane. The film is unpredictable and I don’t want to spoil the surprise by revealing the ending. But what I can say is that this film, and other similar films, convey the message that the childhood experiences are essential in an adult’s life. It is very important for a person to grow up in a healthy family, with very few problems and no traumas. Otherwise, that child will later become a problematic adult, with serious psychological or even psychiatric problems. “The Three Faces of Eve” is a very serious film. It is not art and it is not entertainment. You should treat it as if it were a documentary – because this is what it is. The facts are presented in chronological order and you will also listen the voice of the narrator before each major sequence, explaining the problems of Eve so that you, the member of the audience, could understand better the story. I highly recommend you to watch this film, even more if you are a fan of Joanne Woodward, who must be one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood in the 50s and 60s.

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