This plush adaptation of Grace Metalious' bestseller was the second-highest-grossing film of its year, and its soapy tale of dark deeds simmering beneath the picture-perfect façade of small-town America served as a major influence on David Lynch's Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks. "Main Street might be all picket fences, lavish Labor Day parades (with cake and watermelon, gee!), and freshly-scrubbed kids, [but beneath] the surface lies dirty rundown shacks teeming with child abuse, and overprotective mothers who still bathe their 18-year-old sons. This was hot stuff for the mid-1950s, [and] audiences responded accordingly, condemning the film even as they helped make it the biggest dramatic hit of the year…. [Director Mark] Robson manages a few winningly odd performances from the likes of Lana Turner, whose sex appeal is used against her character's pathological frigidity, and Russ Tamblyn, whose character is the one who receives that unwanted sartorial helping hand from Mommy and who is wildly named Norman — an unwitting omen of movie history's most famous mama's boy" (Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine).
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