‘Peyton Place’ screening in Camden

Aug 11, 2017
Allison (Diane Varsi) and Norman (Russ Tamblyn) stroll by Camden Public Library in “Peyton Place” (1957, USA).

Camden — Shot on location in Camden and other Midcoast sites in 1957, and now brought back to vibrant life in a spectacular restoration for its 60th anniversary, “Peyton Place” will be screened Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 6:30 p.m. in the Picker Room of Camden Public Library, Atlantic Avenue. 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. It runs for 157 minutes.

The film’s source, published in 1956, became a bestseller and a literary phenomenon. A lurid and gripping story of murder, incest, female desire, and social injustice, the novel was consumed as avidly by readers as it was condemned by critics and the clergy, according to the Cornell University Press. 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. In addition to the hit Hollywood adaptation, it was adapted into 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.

Camden Public Library is participating in the “Peyton Place” revival and admits some of the 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 more challenging as to where they were shot and how they were edited to, for example, make Allison 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.

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