The Cobweb Screen 4 articles

The Cobweb

1955

The Cobweb Poster
  • That conflict of internal desires, more so even than the heightened drama between parties, defines The Cobweb’s sophisticated juggling of multiple, occasionally contradictory emotions. Its ability to blend disparate generic tones into a cohesive whole shows a studio picture stepping outside narrow confines to explore something human.

  • A film that makes feelings and colour its very subject (revolving around a literal aesthetic macguffin, no less) where our worst choices and real selves come out in shadow or else we explode. Its verbose and literary surface mirrors that of the characters' over-articulate and over-assured world—with the protagonist's profession and seeming expertise revealed to be rather useless when navigating the tumult of inner and inter-personal struggles.

  • The Cobweb certainly has every bit of the lush color and striking compositions you find in something like Minnelli's Gigi. It has standout work from John Kerr, Oscar Levant, Susan Strasberg, Charles Boyer, Lillian Gish and above all Gloria Grahame.

  • [Grahame's] mature performance and Minnelli’s understanding of character make Karen McIver a figure with human resonance, a woman left alone in her desiring, morally lost, and frustrated by every action she undertakes... The film’s bittersweet ending doesn’t lack a wicked sense of humor. To comfort a disturbed patient, Karen employs the same object that had caused him distress, a traumatically ubiquitous set of drapes. Trouble may be healing.

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