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Friday, March 9, 2012

The Cobweb (movies released in 1955) - the scene at a posh psychiatric clinic

The Cobweb is a movie which takes place in a mental asylum and the surprising million dollar question plaguing the doctors and the inmates is around the selection of the curtains / drapes. So the entire movie revolves around the drapes and affairs of heart of people concerned with the drapes. The movie is directed by Vincente Minnelli and is based on a novel by William Gibson, and stars Richard Widmark, Gloria Grahame, Lillian Gish and Lauren Bacall.
At the opening of the movie “the trouble begins” with Steve McIver taking charge of a mental rehabilitation hospital from Dr. Douglas Deneval. Steve, young and dynamic, in his youthful exhuberance brings about new ideas to improve the lot of the patients and other inmates. His sympathies are concentrated on Steven Holt, a suicidal artist and one pathological Mr. Cabb. As Steve becomes busier in the hospital, he begins to neglect his wife Karen, cosying up to Meg Rinehart.

Now that’s what you call adjusting to local. As the movie proceeds, Steve hits upon the idea of using Steven's artistic abilities to drape the windows. But Karen already has taken the responsibility on herself to supply the curtains. And also another employee Victoria Inch who can be the female version of Scrooge McDuck orders unattractive drapes for the windows. At this point one almost start noticing the drapes of one's window and feels ashamed for the fact that not much effort has gone in to selecting them.
As the drape drama unfolds, the audience finds the supporting cast leading lives of their own, on the screen. Dr. Douglas Deneval is deeply in debt, drinks and has a side affair with his secretary. Even suicidal Steve finds love with another inmate. Now the only person unattached is Vicky Inch who is so angry about the whole drape drama that she threatens to expose Deneval and McIver in the next board meeting. Soon the whole plot is complicated by the arrival of Mrs. Deneval and by now the audience has a tough time keeping pace with the people flitting around the psychotic facility.
The climax has Karen taking the lead to install the new drapes subverting Steve's effort. Steven, mentally disturbed, becomes totally unhinged when his drapes are not put on the window. He does a bunk and a good ten minutes are spent on searching him. Steve finally arrives and in a cathartic revelation forgets about the infernal curtains. Everybody comes on board, and Vicky Inch agrees not to disclose the affairs and other going ons at the instition. The McIver's and Deneval's forget their misunderstandings and work on their marriage and forget their mistresses. Soon all is well with one question hanging around “whose drapes make it”?
One of the most confusing movies I have ever seen, The Cobweb is a crazy, bizarre mix of weird and the incongruent. This one psychiatric facility has not much difference between the doctor and the patients. Everybody moves around madly falling in and falling out of the frames. The director just does not have any clue about the story and just makes the men and women pop out of the curtains and windows.

The Cobweb (movies released in 1955) - the scene at a posh psychiatric clinic

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