The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
Drama / Film Noir / Romance
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck as Martha Ivers
Van Heflin as Sam Masterson
Lizabeth Scott as Antonia 'Toni' Marachek
Kirk Douglas as Walter O'Neil
Roman Bohnen as Mr. O'Neil, Walter's father
Judith Anderson as Mrs. Ivers
Janis Wilson as the young Martha Ivers
Darryl Hickman as the young Sam Masterson
Mickey Kuhn as the young Walter O’Neil
Produced by Hal Wallis and distributed by Paramount Pictures, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is a dramatic film noir directed by Lewis Milestone and released in 1946.
In 1928 three children, Martha, Walter and Sam, are together at Martha’s home. Ward of her mean aunt, Martha is upset when her aunt kills her cat and accidentally pushes her aunt down the stairs, killing her. Guessing what happened, Walter’s father blackmails Martha, now set to inherit her aunt’s wealth.
Mr. O’Neil moves into the house and takes over her inheritance and, years later, arranges for Martha to marry Walter, who is now the District Attorney. Martha is a savvy businesswoman and has built up her wealth. Seeming to have everything, she is still unsatisfied, regretting the loss of Sam, the young man she loved in her youth.
Sam, who had left town on the night of the incident, is now a grown man and returns to town and meets Toni Marachek, a young woman who is just out of jail. As Sam befriends Toni and tries to help her with probation problems, Martha and Walter are concerned that Sam is back to blackmail them, not knowing that Sam was not a witness after all.
Walter is also worried that Sam and Martha will rekindle their romance, and Walter and Martha begin to plot how they can protect themselves from Sam.
This was Kirk Douglas’ movie debut. He got the job when one of his drama school classmates, Lauren Bacall, suggested that Hal Wallis go to see the as yet unknown Douglas perform. Impressed with what he saw, Wallis signed Douglas for the role of Walter O’Neil.