The Three Faces of Eve  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Three Faces of Eve is a 1957 book and film, loosely based on the true story of a woman (Chris Costner-Sizemore) who had dissociative identity disorder.

The film was based on a book co-authored by Hervey M. Cleckley and Corbett H. Thigpen, and starred Joanne Woodward as a sufferer from Multiple Personality Disorder.



Eve White is a timid, self-effacing wife and mother who has severe and blinding headaches and occasional blackouts. Eventually she is sent to see a personality psychiatrist Dr. Luther, and while having a conversation, her "alter personality", wild, fun-loving Eve Black, discloses herself. Eve Black knows everything about Eve White, but Eve White is unaware of Eve Black. With Eve Black on the loose, Eve White's husband leaves her and abandons their daughter, Bonnie. Eve White is sent to an asylum after Eve Black tries to kill Eve White's daughter.

Dr. Luther considers both Eve White and Eve Black to be incomplete and inadequate personalities. Most of the film depicts Luther's attempts to understand and deal with these two faces of Eve. He eventually prompts her to remember a traumatic event in Eve’s childhood. Her beloved grandmother had died when she was six, and according to family custom relatives were supposed to kiss the dead person at the viewing, making it easier for them to let go. Eve's grief and terror led to her "splitting off" into two distinctly different personalities.

Under hypnosis at one session, a third personality appears, the relatively stable Jane. After discovering the cause of her disorder, Jane is gradually able to remember everything that has ever happened to all three personalities. When Luther asks to speak with Eve White, they discover that Eve White and Eve Black no longer exist. All three personalities are once again a single whole. She marries a man named Earl whom she met when she was Jane and reunites with her daughter Bonnie.

Original book

The book by Thigpen and Cleckley was rushed into publication, and the film rights were immediately sold to director Nunnally Johnson in 1957, apparently to capitalize on public interest in multiple personalities following the publication of Shirley Jackson's 1954 novel, The Birds' Nest, which was also made into a film in 1957 titled Lizzie.

The real Eve

Chris Costner Sizemore has written at some length about her experiences as the real "Eve." In her 1958 book, The Final Face of Eve, she used the pseudonym Evelyn Lancaster. In her 1977 book I'm Eve, she revealed her true identity. She has also written a follow-up book, A Mind Of My Own.

Awards and honors

Woodward — at the time a relative unknown in Hollywood — won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and later went on to play Dr. Cornelia Wilbur in the film Sybil.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Three Faces of Eve" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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