Return to Peyton Place José Ferrer

Return to Peyton Place falls between the cracks; it doesn't have the same glamour or trashy melodrama of the original, lacking the incest/murder/illegitimate children/illicit love storylines that made Peyton Place so enjoyable. Instead it tackles censorship and bigotry. These are certainly important topics but they feel out of place in a movie that is essentially a soap opera. Return to Peyton Place, unfortunately, takes itself too seriously. Allison MacKenzie (Carol Lynley) has written a novel about the events of the first movie, the town is scandalised and Mrs. Carter (Mary Astor) tries to have it banned from the town library. Not exactly a riveting storyline. All of the fun and over the top plots from Grace Metalious's novel Return to Peyton Place (the source material for the movie) — Mrs. Carter trying to kill her daughter-in-law, for example — never appears in the movie, rendering Return to Peyton Place a boring film with absolutely no "guilty pleasure" factor. No matter what you do, Eleanor Parker (as Connie MacKenzie Rossi) is not Lana Turner. Turner, who played Connie in the original, is a movie star. She was shot with special lighting and wore pitch perfect costumes. (She was also involved in the real life murder trial of Johnny Stompanato shortly after the release of Peyton Place.) Parker is best known as the star of Caged and the Baroness from The Sound of Music. She's a fine actress but there's no sense of the "trashy side of glamour" to her. Only Mary Astor plays her part for all it's worth. She's clearly an actress who knows how to make the best of a good scandal. (She also has had a lot of real life experience.) The commentary by Sylvia Stoddart provides ample information and background on locations, actors and script. Unfortunately she also spends considerable time detailing the history of a ski resort location and the make of every car used. I suspect that Stoddart has a similar opinion of this film: there's just not enough intrigue to keep one interested for two hours. (Fox)