‘Peyton Place’ comes to life on Blu-ray from Twilight Time

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

In the 1950’s the novel “Peyton Place” penned by Grace Metalious shocked readers with its scandalous story of secrets in a small New England town. This book was so popular yet readers hid their enjoyment of the stories of the people of the fictitious town. In 1957 the book was made into a hit feature film, albeit with some changes for the movie audiences. Then in 1964-1969 the TV series captured the attention of viewers and introduced Ryan O’Neal and Mia Farrow to the world. See how it all began in the new Blu-ray release of Peyton Place which includes some fascinating backstories about the story, the film, and how it pushed the boundaries of the industry at the time.

Lana Turner stars as Constance MacKenzie, a single mother with a repressed view of sex. Her daughter Allison (Diane Varsi) is an aspiring writer. Allison’s friend Betty Anderson (Terry Moore) is the town tramp, although she really isn’t a tramp. She is just more outgoing than the rest of the town’s teens. Selena Cross (Hope Lange) is an abused young woman whose stepfather (Arthur Kennedy) is always drunk and mistreats his family, especially Selena. Russ Tamblyn is Norman Page, a young man whose mother has never cut the apron strings. Lee Phillips is Michael Rossi, the new principal of the high school who wants to expand the minds of the students and introduce a sex education class, to the shock of many of the townsfolk. Lloyd Nelson is the town doctor, David Nelson is Selena’s boyfriend, and Barry Coe is Rodney Harrington, the heir to the town’s biggest employer.

Sex, suicide, incest, murder, and a lot more make up the little secrets in this town. Then when December 7, 1941 changes the world, the young men scatter to Europe and the Pacific to fight for their country.

While the younger generation of Peyton Place expands their morals and sees the world in a broader sense, their parents are still stuck in their stodgy views and have no desire to alter anything. Then when someone is murdered and one of their own is on trial, all the secrets come pouring and everyone’s eyes are opened to the narrow minded views have made the people who they are.

This is a film that, although dated, has stood the test of time. And the music is definitely memorable. It explores morals and mores, interpersonal relationships, and the changing world. Interestingly, it was nominated for 9 Academy Awards yet didn’t win a single one. However, the story captured the hearts and minds of audiences and resulted in the hit TV series.

Some of the characters and events had to be modified for the standards and practices of the time, yet the film did stretch the boundaries of what had been the norm of the 1950s.

The author of the novel was so disliked in her town for shining a spotlight on the narrow-mindedness of a small New England town, they refused to let the movie be filmed in her own town. Even after her death, they were still offended with her and her shocking story.

Peyton Place is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. Before Dallas and Melrose Place, and even Big Little Lies, there was Peyton Place.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 20 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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