Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Peyton Place (1957)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Peyton Place (1957)

In director Mark Robson's sanitized, yet still torrid soap-opera adaptation of Grace Metalious' best-selling scandalous novel about small-town repression, incest, suicide, rape, homosexuality, adultery, abortion, and murder:

  • the opening credits and sequence with picture-postcard views of a New England town, Peyton Place
  • the early scene of red-dressed, overtly-sexual tramp Betty Anderson (Terry Moore), who realized that showing cleavage had its advantages, as she told her girlfriends in a dress shop: "Allison, according to my philosophy, what other people think will not pay the rent. So if you're accused of bein' fast, you might as well run. That way you get to all the good things first. Just remember: men can see much better than they can think. Believe me, a low-cut neckline does more for a girl's future than the entire Britannica encyclopedia."
  • the scene of aspiring, sexually-curious writer Allison MacKenzie (Diane Varsi) - the teenaged, coming-of-age daughter of blonde and prudish single mother Constance "Connie" MacKenzie (Oscar-nominated Lana Turner) - delivering her first kiss (in her 'secret place') to nerdy, shy and virginal Norman Page (Russ Tamblyn) on a large boulder on the hillside overlooking town, and later swimming in the lake (due to a misunderstanding, they were reportedly skinny-dipping, when it was really Betty and boyfriend Rodney (Barry Coe) who were swimming naked)
  • the scene of tormented, wrong-side-of-the-tracks Selena (Hope Lange) fighting off the advances of her drunken stepfather Lucas Cross (Arthur Kennedy) in their tarpaper shack; during the film's incestuous rape scene, Selena had returned home, where her alcoholic father suggested they drink to celebrate her "growing up." He approached her: "About time I started teaching you something...Never had nothing I ever wanted. Never had a beautiful woman." She fought off his advances - with views of her straining hands holding onto the bedframe. She pleaded: "Let me up" with her face seen in full close-up, as the scene shifted.
The Incestuous Rape of Selena (Hope Lange)
  • the big Labor Day picnic sequence
  • the scene of Constance's stunning revelation to her shocked daughter Allison that she was born out of wedlock, and that she had lied to her about her father: (Constance: "Wonderful and fine and good. That's what I told you? Well, I lied. I lied about him because I was ashamed of him and of myself" Allison: "Well then, why did you marry him?" Constance: "I didn't! And he didn't marry me, because he already had a wife!...He had a wife!")
  • the climactic murder courtroom trial of Selena (for bludgeoning her father to death during a second rape attempt) including Dr. Matthew Swain's (Lloyd Nolan) harsh and unapologetic confession-testimony as a witness for the defense: ("I assisted her (Selena) in a miscarriage - a miscarriage of Lucas Cross' baby"), although earlier in the film, he had claimed that she had an appendectomy
  • the film's ending in which Allison was reconciled to her mother on the front steps of her house; in voice-over, Allison remembered: "We'd finally discovered that season of love. It is only found in someone else's heart. Right now, someone you know is looking everywhere for it, and it's in you."
Ending: Allison Reconciled with Mother Constance
Pull-back Shot From The House During Allison's Voice-Over

Opening Credits

Betty Anderson (Terry Moore)

First Kiss: Allison with Norman

Later: Swimming

Betty Reunited with Boyfriend Rodney (Barry Coe), at the Labor Day Picnic

Betty and Rodney 'Skinny-Dipping' By the Lakeside

Constance's Revelation to Allison That She Was Born Out of Wedlock

Selena's Climactic Courtroom Murder Trial


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