After watching Peyton Place last night for the first time … I was reminded of watching Dynasty, Falcon’s Crest, and Knot’s Landing with my mother. Those doses of evening melodrama riveted us both … especially me as a young girl calling “those kisses” they do “soap opera kisses.” You know the ones … tight, grabbing, overly passionate open-mouthed (or at least it looked like that). Sadly, the soap opera kiss I so anxiously awaited in my teen years arrived in college … but that’s a whole other story. I think I mentioned here once … I was a late bloomer to say the least.
Peyton Place has it all … small-town scandal, a murder trial, passion, and an interesting 1950s social commentary on sexuality. And of course … lots of love. The narrator of the film, the main protagonist who runs off to NYC after her high school graduation to be a writer, talks much of the seasons changing and their relation to love and the human condition. This narration is intriguing in its simple complexity. Now I know I must read the novel (this time I broke my own “read the book first rule!”). And the costumes … those dresses! … gorgeous.
The acting is obviously superb … but I am a little biased loving Lana Turner. But everyone is wonderful in their simple yet immensely complex roles that define the small town human condition and mentality. Near the beginning … that retired teacher’s disappointment … well, it truly brought tears to my eyes. It was so real and so raw.
As a classic film lover, I am shocked I never watched Peyton Place … but I am glad I finally did … I needed its innocent look at love, my romantic side uplifted.