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"Tormented" (1960) director, Bert I. Gordon was known by some as "Mr. Big" thanks to his initials and, it's said, to the creatures in his 1950s movies. His films provided plenty of fodder for the classic sci-fi comedy show, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), and despite an utter lack of giant spooky creatures, "Tormented" is a shining example of why.

The story starts with an argument between Tom and his ex, Vi, in a derelict lighthouse. He's determined to marry someone else, and she's determined to stoop to whatever means necessary to keep that from happening. Next thing you know, the rail Vi's leaning on conveniently breaks. Seeing a way out of his predicament, Tom declines her requests for assistance. Could this be the end of his relationship problems? In a ghost story like this? Of course not!

Mr. Big allowed his daughter, Susan Gordon, to take on the role of Tom's winsome young fiancée, Sandy. It's said that Ms. Gordon's parents were initially hesitant to support her career in show business, but that the talent and enthusiasm she showed for it (starting with her first commercial as a toddler) persuaded them otherwise.

As va-va-voom Vi, Juli Reding comes complete with all the vixen trappings you'd expect, from the form-fitting frock and swoopy Marilyn Monroe hair. (For those who like the hairstyle, the scenes in which Vi's ghostly head floats in the air should be particularly enjoyable.) Richard Carlson is the hapless Tom whose courtship of the barely legal Meg reminds us that May-November marriages were once much more popular than they are now.

The Science

Randy Dow

Randy DowSocial worker Randy Dow of Valley Mental Health discusses adolescent psychology and the film “Tormented.”

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Related Resources

Valley Mental Health

University of Utah Department of Social Work

Career in Social Work

Utah.Gov - Careers

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