indulge in some quiet time


what's for dinner?

take the poll





a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation


editor's note 

o lounge 
o nourish 
o host

o send an ECARD

submit your ideas
support digs

rented any good movies lately? jump to the boards and recommend it. 
other new + recent LAZE features:
o Review: Best of Everything
o Books
: Travelogues
Review: Breakfast Club
Review: Singles
Review: The Fast Runner
Review: Insomnia
Review: Bowling for Columbine
Review: Chicago
Review: Rabbit-Proof Fence
Review: Devil's Playground
Review: Heaven
Review: Punch-Drunk Love
Review: Me Without You
Review: Ghost World
Summer Reading
help support digs ... shop for movies, books  and more at the digsShop
donate to digs directly!

Shop at Amazon.com

copyright ©1999-2003

buy the

flick pick | Peyton Place 1957
Directed by: Mark Robson
Written by: John Michael Hayes, Grace Metalious (novel)
Starring: Lana Turner, Lee Philips, Lloyd Nolan, Arthur Kennedy, Russ Tamblyn, Terry Moore, Hope Lange, Diane Varsi
Look for it at the video store under: drama
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: camp-o-riffic, nostalgic
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5 

Plot synopsis The humble town of Peyton Place doesn't just have four seasons like the rest of America, informs Allison MacKenzie (Diane Varsi) in a down-home voiceover. There's a fifth season, love, and a good deal of misery and drama to wade through before it comes around. Allison knows only innocuous bliss for the first 16 years of her life. Now, it's 1941 and her favorite teacher is passed over for a promotion, tipping Allison off that the picturesque world of family values and propriety is just a green-meadowed facade over a more sinister, corrupt world. Fruit punches get spiked, make-out parties ensue, and Allison's deeply conflicted mom (Lana Turner) veers from kissing the new, hunky principal to putting her daughter on chastity lockdown just as she finds love with the boy next door ("Norman, you're making me blush all over"). As Allison's best friend, the cool, beautiful Hope Lange (The Best of Everything) continues to suffer in Technicolor style. This time around, she plays Selena Cross, a wretched angel raised in a tar paper hovel on the wrong side of the tracks. Step-dad Lucas only unclenches his grubby hands from a flask of whiskey to paw his daughter in the most inappropriate manner, and her depressed mom avoids her crumbling family by working as a housemaid for the middle class MacKenzies. Meanwhile, local good-time girl, Betty, falls for an Ivy League boy only to run up against his elitist, disapproving father while the resident gossips get all hot and bothered over skinny-dipping at the pond. All this, and we still haven't gotten to the suicide, furtive abortion, murder trial and World War II. When one lives in a Smalltown, USA, rotting from within, young love can be the cruelest month.

Review Peyton Place is the standard by which all vibrant weepies have been judged, and with good cause. It isn't hard to imagine why it was such a hot button scandal in 1957. In fact, an updated, similarly straight-faced version (say a Happiness or a Far From Heaven that actually bothered to be interesting and outrageous) might cause an equal outcry today. After all, there's not just one allusion to incest, there's two, if you count how Norman's love life makes his mother "jealous." Peyton Place as cutting social commentary hasn't aged well; instead it's ripened to a full-on kitsch delight -- more Mommy Dearest than To Kill A Mockingbird. Without Peyton Place, there would be no Best of Everything, no Valley of the Dolls and certainly no outré soap operas. Does that alone make it a must-see? Yes. Does it mean the half-southern, half-Bostonian accents of the townsfolk and the shrieking violins that underscore every emotional outburst ("I'm never going to get married, mother! I'm just going to have lovers!") won't drive you mad? Unfortunately, no. But despite such niggling flaws, Peyton Place will whisk you away with its lush and lurid romanticism, taking you to a deeply engrossing land where all the trees are healthy, all the hormones are raging, and all the parents just don't understand.
—reviewed by Amy Nicholson

Amy Nicholson is a film festival junkie devoted to under-appreciated and classic cinema while championing House Party as the greatest genre flick of all time. She loves Busby Berkeley musicals, Johnny Depp, and offbeat documentaries -- especially those where all the main characters are rotten. Amy would also like to meet Jackey Vinson, the kid who played power glove-wielding villain Lucas Barton in the Nintendo drama, The Wizard.

looking for a recommendation? 
find a flick to suit your mood

or browse the 
complete list of flick picks

---------------------------> lounge . nourish . host . laze . home .