The Three Faces of Eve (1957)

91 or 95 mins | Drama | October 1957

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HISTORY

The film opens with narrator Alistair Cooke directly addressing the audience with the following speech: "This is a true story....How often have you seen that segment at the beginning of a picture....Well, this is the story about a sweet rather baffled young housewife who in 1951, in her home in Georgia suddenly frightened her husband by behaving very unlike herself....She was, in fact, a case of multiple personalities...the account of the case was delivered to the American Psychiatric Association in 1953...all the episodes you are going to see happened to this girl who they called Eve White....Much of the dialogue was taken from the actual records of the doctor we call Dr. Luther..." Cooke then serves as the offscreen narrator for the rest of the film, describing the progression of Eve's illness and recovery.
       Drs. Corbett H. Thigpen and Harvey M. Cleckley, who wrote the book on which this film was based, were the therapists who treated the real Eve. According to an Oct 1989 LAT article, her actual name was Chris Costner Sizemore, and in reality, she did not completely recover until 1974. Although the doctors thought she had been cured in the 1950s, she suffered several relapses. Her multiple personalities were triggered at the age of two, when she experienced three traumatic incidents. The first occurred when she came upon a man who appeared to be drowned in a ditch. The second transpired when she witnessed a man being sawed in half at her father's lumber mill, and the last happened when her mother was badly cut by an exploding bottle. In all, Sizemore assumed twenty-two different personalities.
       In 1989, she ... More Less

The film opens with narrator Alistair Cooke directly addressing the audience with the following speech: "This is a true story....How often have you seen that segment at the beginning of a picture....Well, this is the story about a sweet rather baffled young housewife who in 1951, in her home in Georgia suddenly frightened her husband by behaving very unlike herself....She was, in fact, a case of multiple personalities...the account of the case was delivered to the American Psychiatric Association in 1953...all the episodes you are going to see happened to this girl who they called Eve White....Much of the dialogue was taken from the actual records of the doctor we call Dr. Luther..." Cooke then serves as the offscreen narrator for the rest of the film, describing the progression of Eve's illness and recovery.
       Drs. Corbett H. Thigpen and Harvey M. Cleckley, who wrote the book on which this film was based, were the therapists who treated the real Eve. According to an Oct 1989 LAT article, her actual name was Chris Costner Sizemore, and in reality, she did not completely recover until 1974. Although the doctors thought she had been cured in the 1950s, she suffered several relapses. Her multiple personalities were triggered at the age of two, when she experienced three traumatic incidents. The first occurred when she came upon a man who appeared to be drowned in a ditch. The second transpired when she witnessed a man being sawed in half at her father's lumber mill, and the last happened when her mother was badly cut by an exploding bottle. In all, Sizemore assumed twenty-two different personalities.
       In 1989, she sued Twentieth-Century Fox to recover the rights to her life story, claiming that although the studio had paid her $7,000, that sum only encompassed the material in the book written by Cleckley and Thigpen. A Feb 1989 NYT news item added that the conflict erupted when actress Sissy Spacek expressed an interest in buying the rights to Sizemore's autobiography In Sickness and in Health . A Jun 1990 HR news item noted that the suit was settled in 1990 when Fox allowed Sizemore to keep the rights to her story while they retained the rights to the material dealing with The Three Faces of Eve .
       A 14 Sep 1956 NYT article notes that Fox had great difficulty casting the part of Eve, and had considered both Judy Garland and Jennifer Jones for the role. According to a Sep 1956 HR news item, Kirk Douglas, whose company, Bryna Productions, was producing the film Lizzie , which also dealt with multiple personalities, sued Twentieth-Century Fox to postpone The Three Faces of Eve because of the similarity of their plots. Fox then decided to delay the production of their film until after the publication of Thigpen and Cleckley's book. For more information about Lizzie , please See Entry. Joanne Woodward received an Academy Award for her portrayal of Eve in this film. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Aug 1957.
---
Daily Variety
21 Aug 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Aug 57
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 56
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 56
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 57
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 57
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 57
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1957
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 57
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 57
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1990.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Oct 1989.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Aug 57
p. 505.
New York Times
14 Sep 1956.
---
New York Times
25 Sep 57
p. 25.
New York Times
27 Sep 57
p. 16.
New York Times
7 Feb 1989.
---
Variety
21 Aug 57
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Exec ward des
Cost des
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hair styles
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Dial coach
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book The Three Faces of Eve, a Case of Multiple Personality by Corbett H. Thigpen, M.D. and Harvey M. Cleckley, M.D. (New York, 1957).
SONGS
"Hold Me," words and music by Dave Oppenheim and Ira Schuster.
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1957
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 26 September 1957
Production Date:
5 February--late March 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
18 September 1957
Copyright Number:
LP9258
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
91 or 95
Length(in feet):
8,146
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In Augusta, Georgia, in August 1951, Eve and Ralph White visit Dr. Curtis Luther, a psychiatrist. Mrs. White, a timid and mousy woman, suffers from recurring blackouts and headaches. Under Luther's care, Mrs. White's symptoms abate until one spring day in 1952, Ralph comes home to find their daughter Bonnie wearing a pair of glittery, spike-heeled shoes that her mother has just bought. When Ralph discovers his wife's sexy new wardrobe spread across the bed, he is perplexed and questions her about it. After Mrs. White insists that he bought the clothes for her, Ralph phones the store to return them, but the clerk replies that his wife bought the clothes for herself. Incensed, Ralph accuses Mrs. White of lying. Dumbfounded, she is stricken with an excruciating headache and tries to strangle her daughter. After Ralph throws his wife to the ground, the couple visits Luther again. When Mrs. White denies attacking her daughter, Luther questions her alone, and she confides that she has begun to hear a woman's voice that sounds very much like her own, urging her to leave Ralph and run away with Bonnie. Terrified that she is losing her mind, Mrs. White suffers another blinding headache and buries her head in her hands. When she lifts her head a few moments later, she has assumed a different personality--that of a flirtatious, immodest vixen who calls herself Eve Black. Eve refers to Mrs. White in the third person and after asserting that she is unmarried, calls Ralph a jerk. When Eve begins to shimmy and dance, Luther consults his colleague, Dr. Day, about multiple personalities. In May 1952, Mrs. White ... +


In Augusta, Georgia, in August 1951, Eve and Ralph White visit Dr. Curtis Luther, a psychiatrist. Mrs. White, a timid and mousy woman, suffers from recurring blackouts and headaches. Under Luther's care, Mrs. White's symptoms abate until one spring day in 1952, Ralph comes home to find their daughter Bonnie wearing a pair of glittery, spike-heeled shoes that her mother has just bought. When Ralph discovers his wife's sexy new wardrobe spread across the bed, he is perplexed and questions her about it. After Mrs. White insists that he bought the clothes for her, Ralph phones the store to return them, but the clerk replies that his wife bought the clothes for herself. Incensed, Ralph accuses Mrs. White of lying. Dumbfounded, she is stricken with an excruciating headache and tries to strangle her daughter. After Ralph throws his wife to the ground, the couple visits Luther again. When Mrs. White denies attacking her daughter, Luther questions her alone, and she confides that she has begun to hear a woman's voice that sounds very much like her own, urging her to leave Ralph and run away with Bonnie. Terrified that she is losing her mind, Mrs. White suffers another blinding headache and buries her head in her hands. When she lifts her head a few moments later, she has assumed a different personality--that of a flirtatious, immodest vixen who calls herself Eve Black. Eve refers to Mrs. White in the third person and after asserting that she is unmarried, calls Ralph a jerk. When Eve begins to shimmy and dance, Luther consults his colleague, Dr. Day, about multiple personalities. In May 1952, Mrs. White is admitted to the hospital for treatment. For the first week she remains stable, until one night, she changes into Eve and propositions one of the orderlies. Uncertain about how to proceed, Luther decides to tell Mrs. White about Eve. After Eve metamorphoses into Mrs. White, Luther explains that she has a multiple personality disorder. When the oafish Ralph is unable to comprehend his wife's malady, Luther calls forth Eve and then summons Mrs. White again. Upon determining that Mrs. White is harmless, she is discharged and Ralph moves to Jacksonville, Florida to take a new job while Bonnie is sent to live with Mrs. White's parents. On her own, Mrs. White rents a room in the city. One night as Eve, she picks up a soldier at a nightclub. When the soldier demands payment in flesh for the drinks he has bought, Eve switches back into Mrs. White and breaks into tears. Some time later, Ralph, who has discovered his wife's nocturnal escapades, returns home and angrily demands that she accompany him back to Jacksonville. When Mrs. White refuses to abandon her treatment and trek to Jacksonville, Ralph storms out of the room, precipitating the emergence of Eve. Later, Eve visits Ralph at his motel room and seductively offers to go with him if he buys her a new wardrobe. Titillated by his wife's new, provocative manifestation, Ralph eagerly agrees until one night, Eve pulls on one of her new dresses and heads for the nightclub, alone. Furious, Ralph slaps her and then immediately divorces her. One day, Luther is theorizing to Day that neither of Eve's personalities is capable of functioning as a normal person when Eve arrives and announces that Mrs. White tried to kill herself the previous evening. When Luther calls forth Mrs. White and asks her to undergo hypnosis, a third, composed and mature personality emerges. Although this woman is familiar with Eve and Mrs. White, she has no memories of her own and suggests that she be called Jane. Jane begins to date a man named Earl, but when he proposes, she confesses that she suffers from a multiple personality disorder. Undeterred, the compassionate Earl nourishes Jane with love and understanding. In September 1953, Mrs. White complains to Luther of fatigue and increasing memory lapses. Sensing that the personality of Mrs. White is dying, she confides her hopes that Jane will survive. When Luther calls forth Jane, Jane recounts an incident that occurred during Mrs. White's visit to Bonnie the previous Sunday: While Mrs. White and Bonnie play ball, the ball rolls under the house and Mrs. White climbs underneath to retrieve it. This action mentally transports her back to her childhood. Under hypnosis, Mrs. White reveals that when she was six, the year that Eve appeared, her mother forced her to do something terrifying. Just then, Eve reemerges and, with a sense of impending doom, bequeaths Luther her low-cut red dress and bids him farewell. Jane then appears and, screaming, recalls that as a little girl, while playing underneath the house, her mother called her out and carried her to kiss her dead grandmother goodbye. Returning to the present, Jane discovers that she has now been vested with Eve's memories. With the banishment of the other two personalities, Jane has become an integrated person. Two years later, on the anniversary of the breakthrough, Luther receives a letter from Jane, telling him that she, Earl and Bonnie have formed a new, reconstituted family. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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