The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Synopsis: In 1928, young heiress Martha Ivers fails to run off with friend Sam Masterson, and is involved in fatal events. Years later, Sam returns to find Martha the power behind Iverstown and married to "good boy" Walter O'Neil, now district attorney. At first, Sam is more interested in displaced blonde Toni Marachek than in his boyhood friends; but they draw him into a convoluted web of plotting and cross-purposes.
Director(s): Lewis Milestone
Production: Paramount Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min

Shut the door, quick.

Scared of thunder?

No, I like it.

That's good,

'cause there's gonna be more of it.

- I brought you food. For the kitten, too.

- Did you steal it?

No, I bought it.

And if we get caught, don't go making up

any stories that I did.

I'm in enough trouble as it is.

You and your kitten.

- Do you want me to go back, Sam?

- Shut up and eat.

They looking for me?

Your aunt's got every cop in Iverstown

peeping through keyholes.

- You won't let them find me?

- You always come running to me.

Got nobody else to run to, Sam.

The circus is leaving town tonight.

Their train will go right through here.

When it does, you just follow me.

You run with all your might,

and when you grab on, grab tight.

Don't you worry about me, Sam.


There they are.

All right, kids.

Unless you got wings, you're caught.

All right, Martha. Let's go.

You'll never catch him!

You'll never catch him!

Don't rough her, you chump.

All right, miss.

We'll take you on home to your aunt.

- Mr. O'Neil to see you, ma'am.

- Show him in.

Mrs. Ivers will see you now.

- Good evening, Mrs. Ivers.

- Good evening.

- Good evening, Mrs. Ivers.

- I have good news. Martha...

- What about her?

- Martha has been found.

I know.

Well, it was Walter who was really

responsible for Martha being found.

He told the police where she and that boy,

Sam Masterson, usually go.

- Isn't that so, Walter?

- Yes, Father.

The boy will be rewarded.

Well, he's a good boy, and he's bright.

- lf I could afford it, I'd send him...

- Send him to a school like Harvard.

- I guess I've mentioned it before.

- Many times.

Yes, madam?

Take the boy to the kitchen, Lynch.

Give him some ice cream.

You may give him a piece of cake, too.

Go along.

- You must thank Mrs. Ivers, Walter.

- Thank you, Mrs. Ivers.

You've lost your pupil, Mr. O'Neil.

I'm sending her away.

I know why you offered to tutor Martha.

I know why you've made Walter

do his daily lessons with her.

I know why you want him to live here.

A scholarship for Walter, that's why.

But I'm not a foundation, Mr. O'Neil.

I don't care whether Walter drives a truck

or goes to Harvard.

Probably be a lot happier driving a truck.

You are expected, miss.

Just a minute, miss.

The name is Lundeen.

You'll tell Mrs. Ivers, the name

of the detective who caught her is Lundeen.

I'll tell her.

I'll take your furs, miss.

- No.

- You'd better, miss.

You know how she feels about that cat.

I'll bring it up to your room.

Your aunt is waiting for you.

Come closer, Martha.

Closer, Martha.

Look at me.

You don't seem very sorry.

I am. I'm sorry I was caught.

No matter what you do, I won't cry.

This is the fourth time

you've tried to run away.

Each time you were brought back here.

No matter how far you got...

- you were brought back here.

- You don't own the whole world.

Enough of it to make sure

that you'll always be brought back here.

Do you understand that?

You understand that?

Your aunt doesn't deserve

such an attitude, Martha.

There are not very many women

who would be as patient and as kind.

And there aren't very many little girls

who would be as ungrateful.

When will you understand

that I'm doing all this for you?

That I'm trying to wash the dirt

and grime off you.

- Make an Ivers out of you again.

- My name is Smith.

The same as my father's was.

Your name is Ivers.

I've had it changed legally.

- I don't care what you've done.

- Your name is Ivers...

the same as your mother's was,

before she was stupid enough to marry...

Shut up! Shut up!

- How dare you?

- Shut up!

You've still got his foul mouth.

I won't let you talk that way

about my father.

Your father was a nobody, a mill hand.

The best thing he ever did for you

was to die.

- I'll kill you! I'll kill you! I'll kill you!

- Martha, stop! Stop!

That's all right, Mr. O'Neil.

Go up to your room

and get into some dry clothes.

After you've had dinner,

I want to have a talk with you.

It's late. I'll go get my son. Good night.

Stay. I'm upset.

- I want someone to talk to.

- Yes, Mrs. Ivers.

Lynch told me to sneak Bundles to you.

I thought she'd be hungry,

so I sneaked the milk, too.

She hates cats. She hates everything I like.

A policeman came to my house

this morning.

He asked me if I had any idea

of where you could have gone.

- My father said it was my duty to tell them.

- Your father.

I didn't say a thing.

No matter what my father told your aunt.

I didn't say a thing.

I'm cold. I've got to change my clothes.

I'll leave the door open, so I can hear you.

My father says you're foolish.

My father says that some day

you'll have everything in the world.

My father said that if we only had

one little part of what you'll have...

- I could go to Harvard.

- You're what?

I could go to Harvard!

- The lights! What happened to the lights?

- They went out.

I think they went out all over the house.

There's a candle and matches on the table

near the wall.

You stand still. I'll do it.

Don't you think I'd better go up

and see if Martha's all right?

Martha will be all right anywhere. Your play.

I'm afraid of the thunder and lightning.

Draw the curtains! I'll go in to change.


One peep out of you,

and I'll break your nose.

I won't say anything. Martha!

Martha will tell you I won't say anything.


See, Walter, I told you

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Robert Rossen

Robert Rossen (March 16, 1908 – February 18, 1966) was an American screenwriter, film director, and producer whose film career spanned almost three decades. His 1949 film All the King's Men won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, while Rossen was nominated for an Oscar as Best Director. He won the Golden Globe for Best Director and the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture. In 1961 he directed The Hustler, which was nominated for nine Oscars and won two. After directing and writing for the stage in New York, Rossen moved to Hollywood in 1937. There he worked as a screenwriter for Warner Bros. until 1941, and then interrupted his career to serve until 1944 as the chairman of the Hollywood Writers Mobilization, a body to organize writers for the effort in World War II. In 1945 he joined a picket line against Warner Bros. After making one film for Hal Wallis's newly formed production company, Rossen made one for Columbia Pictures, another for Wallis and most of his later films for his own companies, usually in collaboration with Columbia. Rossen was a member of the American Communist Party from 1937 to about 1947, and believed the Party was "dedicated to social causes of the sort that we as poor Jews from New York were interested in."He ended all relations with the Party in 1949. Rossen was twice called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), in 1951 and in 1953. He exercised his Fifth Amendment rights at his first appearance, refusing to state whether he had ever been a Communist. As a result, he found himself blacklisted by Hollywood studios as well as unable to renew his passport. At his second appearance he named 57 people as current or former Communists and his blacklisting ended. In order to repair finances he produced his next film, Mambo, in Italy in 1954. While The Hustler in 1961 was a great success, conflicts on the set of Lilith so disillusioned him that it was his last film. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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