There are two reasons you should watch this film. Karl Malden and Claudette Colbert. Karl Malden turns over a wonderful performance as angry man Judd Raike who's greed and desire for control are so overpowering that he will plow over anyone in his way, including his own kin. Malden excels in bad-guy roles, yet he can be genuine playing nice-guy characters too. He just has incredible range. Parrish happens to be Claudette Colbert's last feature-film role. She looked as beautiful as she did almost three decades earlier in the milk-bath scene in The Sign of the Cross (1933). It's quite a delight to watch her in this movie.
Susan Slade (1961) is another coming-of-age soap in Delmer Daves/Troy Donahue style. Similar to Parrish, it follows the story's title character, played by Connie Stevens, as she blossoms into womanhood. After spending 10 years in Chile, the Slade family is returning to the US. On the cruiseliner, Susan meets a young man, Conn White (Grant Williams), who is on his way to Alaska for a mountain climbing expedition. They fall in love and the close quarters of the ship speed up their romance and they become intimate very quickly. They separate once they arrive in California, but Conn promises that he will return to her after his expedition so they can marry. Susan writes to him everyday, longing for the day that he will come back to her and the baby she is carrying but he never returns. Now it is up to the Slade family to figure out how to protect their family and the future life of the baby from a less-than-understanding society. Oh and Troy Donahue is somewhere in their too.
This is not a film I would recommend to folks that did not like A Summer Place (1959). Both films are very similar in how they deal with premarital sex and teenage pregnancy. They also both star Troy Donahue and Dorothy McGuire. If however, you liked A Summer Place, you would enjoy this. The cinematography is beautiful and lush; candy for the eyes. The story is over-the-top in the only way a good soap can be. Also, if you happen to be a fan of Peyton Place (1957), this is right up your alley!