Release dateNovember 6, 1957 (1957-11-06) Based onThe Story of Esther Costello
by Nicholas Monsarrat WriterCharles Kaufman, Nicholas Monsarrat (novel) CastJoan Crawford, Rossano Brazzi, Heather Sears, Lee Patterson, Ron Randell, Fay Compton Similar moviesThe Book of Eli, Sommersby, Seven Samurai, How to Train Your Dragon, Local Hero, Black
TaglineDrama without equal that smashes its way into a woman's love-starved heart!
The story of esther costello 1957 trailer
The Story of Esther Costello is a 1957 British drama film starring Joan Crawford, Rossano Brazzi, and Heather Sears (who won a BAFTA as Best British Actress for her performance). The film is an exposé of large-scale fundraising. The Story of Esther Costello was produced by David Miller and Jack Clayton, with Miller directing. The screenplay by Charles Kaufman was based on the 1952 novel by Nicholas Monsarrat. It was distributed by Columbia Pictures.
With her marriage to womaniser Carlo Landi (Rossano Brazzi) in ashes, wealthy and childless Margaret Landi (Joan Crawford) finds an emotional outlet in patronizing a 15-year-old deaf, dumb, and blind Irish girl named Esther Costello (Heather Sears). Esther's disabilities are the result of a childhood trauma and are psychosomatic rather than physical. As Costello makes progress with Braille and sign language, she is seen as an example of triumph over adversity. Carlo gets wind of Margaret's new life and re-enters the scene. He views Esther as a source of cheap financial gain and arranges a series of exploitative tours for her under a mercenary manager Frank Wenzel (Ron Randell). One day when Margaret is absent from the Landi apartment, Carlo seduces and rapes the now 16-year-old Esther. The shock restores the girl's sight and hearing. When Margaret learns of her husband's business duplicities and the rape, she consigns Esther to the care of a priest and a young reporter who loves her (Lee Patterson). Margaret then kills Carlo and herself.
Joan Crawford as Margaret Landi
Rossano Brazzi as Carlo Landi
Heather Sears as Esther Costello
Lee Patterson as Harry Grant
Ron Randell as Frank Wenzel
Fay Compton as Mother Superior
John Loder as Paul Marchant
Denis O'Dea as Father Devlin
Sidney James as Ryan
Bessie Love as Matron in Art Gallery
Robert Ayres as Mr. Wilson
Maureen Delaney as Jennie Costello
Harry Hutchinson as Irish publican
Tony Quinn as Irish pub customer
Janina Faye as Esther Costello, as a child
Victor Rietti as Signor Gatti
Wilfred Bramble as man in pub (uncredited)
The film was the 11th most popular movie at the British box office in 1957.
The New York Times noted, "Miss Crawford, Mr. Brazzi, and Mr. Patterson and all the minor players are professional throughout." William K. Zinsser in the New York Herald Tribune wrote, "It wouldn't be a Joan Crawford picture without plenty of anguish...And her fans will have their usual good time...this plot enables Miss Crawford to run a full-course dinner of dramatic moods, from loneliness to mother love, from pride in the girl to passion with her husband, and finally to smouldering rage...Somehow she pulls it off. This may not be your kind of movie but it is many women's kind of movie and our Joan is queen of the art form."
The Story of Esther Costello was released on DVD by Turner Classics (under license from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) on 25 November 2014, as part of the "Joan Crawford in the 1950s" collection.