Grand Hotel in a psychiatric hospital, with MGM lavishing its legendary gloss on Vincente Minnelli’s star-studded melodrama. Adapted from the novel by playwright William Gibson (The Miracle Worker), The Cobweb details a deluxe clinic whose disturbed patients are no match for its dysfunctional staff. Richard Widmark plays Dr. McIver, the dedicated psychiatrist tasked with putting out the fires of the philandering Dr. Devanal (Charles Boyer). When the former’s wife (Gloria Grahame) orders new drapes for the library—a typically Minnellian focus on set design—everyone from the administrator (Lillian Gish) to an artist-patient (John Kerr, in a role meant for James Dean) is thrown into turmoil. Lauren Bacall affectingly co-stars as Dr. McIver’s widowed colleague and possible love interest, an oasis of sanity in this colorful and eccentric CinemaScope soap.
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