Joanne Woodward won an Oscar for her effective portrayal of Eve White, an otherwise normal housewife suffering from multiple-personality disorder in The Three Faces of Eve. Inside Eve White also lurks Eve Black, an aggressively sexual woman, and Jane, a smart, levelheaded modern woman. What in 1957 seemed risky—it’s doubtful that everyone in the audience had ever heard of mental illness, let alone took it seriously—is now a regular topic of discussion, turning up on television and in films regularly.

As the story begins, a clearly troubled young woman, Eve White, is accompanied by her husband Ralph (David Wayne) to the offices of Dr. Luther (Lee J. Cobb) a well regarded psychiatrist. Eve has been suffering from debilitating headaches, and blackouts. Not only that, but she’s spent hundreds of dollars on clothes more appropriate for Las Vegas than a Georgia housewife such as herself. Most shocking of all, Eve attempted to choke their daughter Bonnie with the cord from a venetian blind. Clearly there’s something wrong with this apparently passive woman.

As Luther begins to ask her some questions, Eve suddenly clutches her head. In mere seconds she transforms into Eve Black, a seductive free spirit who knows everything about Eve White, but Eve White seems unaware she exists. Considering the incident with Bonnie, and having witnessed her split personality, Dr. Luther decides to hospitalize Eve until he can get a better understanding of what they’re dealing with.

After several sessions, it’s revealed that the core cause of Eve’s issues lies in childhood. At age six, her grandmother died, and in keeping with family tradition, Eve’s mother forced her to kiss the dead woman, claiming that it would help her overcome her grief and not miss the deceased. Instead, it caused her personality to “split.” Things get even trickier when “Jane,” a seemingly well adjusted woman emerges. Dr. Luther and Eve must work together to integrate these personalities in to one so she can live a normal life. In the midst of all this, Eve must deal with her marital issues, and hope Eve Black’s taste for the wild side of life doesn’t get her into trouble.

Even if some of the film seems dated, Joanne Woodward’s performance remains powerful. Some argued that Woodward’s performance was too theatrical, but in the included commentary Aubrey Solomon makes it clear that Woodward’s quick personality transitions were largely based on viewing films of the real-life Eve. Talky, slow, and decidedly dated today, The Three Faces of Eve doesn’t stand up as a serious study of mental illness—the Hollywood ending is ridiculous—but it’s worth watching for Joanne Woodward’s performance.

The film’s Cinemascope 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully reproduced in this 1080p transfer. While some grain has clearly been removed, detail remains solid. Blacks are inky, and whites are clear. This HD transfer is far better looking than any of the standard DVD releases of the past.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (mono) sound mix is free of artifacts, offering clean dialogue throughout. Robert Emmett Dolan’s score is effective, and the occasional sound effect never intrudes on the all important dialogue.

English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Audio Commentary by Film Historian Aubrey Solomon: Solomon offers an informative, yet gap filled analysis. He got some interesting background facts, and details about the source material.
  • Fox Movietone News: Academy Awards (SD, 2:22) Woodward picking up her Oscar.
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:44) features a rare on camera appearance by writer/director Nunnally Johnson.