‘Peyton Place’ at Camden library

Mar 13, 2019
Lee Philips, as Michael Rossi, stands beside the Knox Mill, standing in for Harrington Mills in “Peyton Place.”

Camden — The downtown Camden Public Library will screen “Peyton Place,” shot on location in Camden and other Midcoast sites in 1957 and brought back to vibrant life in a spectacular restoration for its 60th anniversary, Tuesday, March 26, at 5:30 p.m. The screening is free.

“Peyton Place” was nominated for nine Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography; plus five Best Acting or Supporting Acting nominations.

Published in 1956, the novel “Peyton Place” became a bestseller and a literary phenomenon. A lurid and gripping story of murder, incest, female desire and social injustice, it was consumed as avidly by readers as it was condemned by critics and the clergy. Its author, Grace Metalious, a housewife who grew up in poverty in a New Hampshire mill town and had aspired to be a writer from childhood, loosely based the novel’s setting, characters and incidents on real-life places, people and events.

The novel sold more than 30 million copies in hardcover and paperback. It was adapted into the hit Hollywood film in 1957 and a popular television series that aired from 1964 to 1969. More than half a century later, the term “Peyton Place” is still in circulation as a code for a community harboring sordid secrets.

Some of the film’s scenes are quite amusing, at least to local audiences, such as the “secret” place Allison is so proud of that turns out to be the top of Mt. Battie; and the bus to New York that comes down the street from Hope and heads off to Bangor. Other scenes are challenging, in trying to place where they were taken and how they were edited to make Allison (Diane Varsi) skip merrily from Chestnut Street to Belfast and back.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Alison (Diane Varsi, who won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer and soon thereafter abandoned Hollywood) walks by the local newspaper office in “Peyton Place.”
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