Psyche 59 Film Details
Overview: In London, the pregnant wife of an industrialist falls down the stairs, loses her sight and has no recollection of the events but suspects that a mentally traumatic experience prior to the fall caused her accident.
Tagline: The screen prowls the lonely place where lust hides!
Review: With the death of Patricia Neal this month (August 2010), I took some time to research her life, past the obvious facts I had known about: i.e., the affair with Gary Cooper; the marriage to famous children’s author Roald Dahl; divorce in 1982; respectable career continuing into her 70’s; death at 84. PSYCHE 59 is a film which I saw on television years ago, and I found it very disturbing, because of its themes of betrayal and animalistic sexuality. Patricia Neal’s performance was terrifying in its precision. But now I realize that just a year after its release is when Neal suffered her strokes. In a way, her life, and that of her daughter, Tessa, mirrored this film. Let me explain. Neal became an invalid, of course, and her dramatic recovery is usually ascribed to the caring discipline of her husband. However, Raould Dahl, who died in 1990, is now known to have been a promiscuous British spy, part of whose duties involved bedding wealthy and well connected American women, married to movers and shakers, in order to pry information from them during WWII, when the Allies never quite completely trusted their U.S. rescuers. At the same time, he made valuable contacts which helped him to promote himself as a writer in the late 1940’s. Dahl started out as a short story writer, quickly rising to the top echelon with works published in The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker for example. He started writing children’s books after his marriage to Neal which, while immensely successful, do admittedly have macabre overtones, so popular today. But in 1965 Neal, not quite 40, became more of a burden than a marriage partner to her dashing husband, whom so many women found irresistible. Roald had dabbled in alcohol and drugs earlier in the relationship, after the death of their eldest daughter Olivia, age 7. Her death left him shattered, and it is reported he gave barbiturates to his next eldest daughter, Tessa, to keep her under control. Tessa grew up to become a drug addict and alcoholic. Tessa’s own daughter, the beautiful Sophie Dahl, apparently has dated her mother’s old boyfriends. I am not making any of this up. I simply ‘Googled’ Neal, Dahl, Tessa Dahl, and Sophie Dahl, and read several articles listed on the first page of each search. At the time of her divorce from Raold Dahl, Neal revealed that she had discovered he had been carrying on an affair with Felicity Crosland, a friend of hers who had worked on her first commercial for Maxim Coffee, behind the scenes. Dahl confessed the affair in 1982, and demanded Neal leave their home in England, which they had shared for 30 years. She did so. He quickly married his mistress and moved her in. Neal also shared that it was very hard for her to accept the additional discovery that her own children had known about his connection with Crosland and hidden the facts from their mother. Tessa at the age of 16 evidently overheard a passionate phone conversation between the lovers. Her father Raold, in words I won’t repeat here, told the girl if she said a word she would be thrown out on the street. PSYCHE 59 is a film with tremendous unspoken tensions. I suspect that Patricia Neal and her children suffered greatly. In fact, Neal’s ‘blindness’ to her husband’s long affair is similar in an uncanny way to the blindness of the wife in PSYCHE 59. In this case, did ‘Life Mirror Film’? Or was Patricia Neal conveying to her husband, in a non-threatening way, that she really knew what he was up to? Raold didn’t meet Felicity Crosland until around 1972, but it is more than likely he had other adulterous relationships over the years also. In her magnificent career, Patricia Neal excelled, as most actresses do, when she tapped deeply and honestly into her own psyche.
Country: United Kingdom
Language: French, English
Duration: 94 min
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance
Also known as: Cega de Amor,Piso apo tin kleisti porta,Suljettujen silmien takana,Homályban,Psyché 59,Por detrás duns olhos fechados,Los ojos del amor,Psyche 59,Das Verlangen,Psihic 59,Psique