Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Now Voyager (1942)

Here is another Bette Davis classic!  "Now, Voyager" (1942) was directed by Irving Rapper, starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and Gladys Cooper. The movie is based on the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty, who got the title from a poem by Walt Whitman ("Now voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find"). Bette Davis plays Charlotte Vale, an ugly duckling and spinster without any self-esteem, who lives with her controlling, dominating mother (Gladys Cooper). Fearing for Charlotte's mental well-being, her sister-in-law Lisa (Ilka Chase) arranges for her to meet psychiatrist Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains), who has her admitted to his sanatorium. At the sanatorium and away from her mother, Charlotte slowly starts to recover. Having transformed into a beautiful swan but still insecure, she goes on a cruise and meets a married man, Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid), and they fall in love. But since Jerry is married, they decide not to pursue their love any further. Returning home from the cruise, strenghtened by her memories of Jerry, Charlotte finally stands up to her mother. But when her mother dies of a heart attack after a quarrel with Charlotte, Charlotte blames herself and guilt stricken returns to the sanatorium. At the sanatorium she meets a teenage girl Tina (Janis Wilson) who reminds her of herself. She takes the girl under her wings and starts to care for her, especially when she finds out that it's Jerry's daughter. Knowing she can't be with the man she loves, Charlotte sees helping Jerry's daughter as her new mission in life and as a way of remaining close to him.

This improvised moment by Paul Henreid lighting two cigarettes at once and handing
one to Davis became an instant classic. 
Bette Davis and Gladys Cooper
This was the first Bette Davis movie I saw. I was about nine years old. I fell in love with the characters, the story, music and the actors. I love this movie! Highly recommend it! xx 


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