Page to Screen: Peyton Place
Peyton Place is the 1957 movie based on the novel of the same name written by Grace Metalious about a small fictional New England town. I’ve wanted to see it for a long time just because Peyton Place is so popular it’s become a synonym for a scandal filled small town. I finally decided to bite the bullet and watch it after it was mentioned in the book Necessary Lies. In Necessary Lies, naive social worker Jane, sees it and is shocked by what’s in it. I really wanted to find out what would be so shocking for a movie made in the late 1950s.
Of course nothing in this movie was shocking by today’s standards but I can see why it was when it was first released. The word sex is used several times, which I can imagine took people aback. Also, one teenage girl tells a boy, “It’s about time you learned that girls want to the same things as boys and they have the right to know how.” What?? Girls like sex too? Revolutionary! Seriously, I’m sure that was a revelation for some at that time. Heck, it might still be a revelation for some people today!
This was a good movie but at 2 hours and 37 minutes, it was about 37 minutes too long. There were several long, meandering scenes that I thought could have been edited down without losing anything. The acting was very affected and dramatic but I think that was the accepted style of acting for that time period. The same goes for the overly dramatic, tympanic score. I’m so glad movies of today aren’t scored that way.
In researching the movie, I learned that it is watered down compared to the book. Now I feel like I must read the original novel to get the full scoop. Apparently the novel has quite a back story as well and there are also books written about the real life story of the author and the town she based Peyton Place on. I have opened up quite a can of worms for myself by watching this movie!