Boston spinster Charlotte has had her life controlled entirely by her mother; a wealthy mother, Mrs. Henry Vale. Feeling despondent, she’s convinced to spend some time in a sanitarium. Soon, Charlotte’s transformed into a sophisticated, confident woman.
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I'm deducting a star for the ham-handed romanticization of cigarette smoking. Cigarettes were disgusting back in 1942, and this was one of many, many films and TV shows that blatantly encouraged women to pick up the habit.
The 40s saw a confluence: psychoanalysis in vogue, frank depictions of sex banned on screen, and a studio-bound absence of realism—in short, perfect for psychodrama. The herky-jerky plot is less advanced than its handling of pathologies, including repression, anorexia, and a search for satisfaction that goes beyond sex. You can see how old psychodramas, couched in taboo, may perceive more than the frankness of today.
Melodrama. Make-up, expensive clothes, belonging to the right social class and the best psychiatrist money can buy allow Bette Davis to resolve her problems with her mother. Now she can't go against the Hays code and won't sleep with Paul Henreid, a married man. So she will go on being always late and only have children by proxy. A classic. Strongly recommended.
The chemistry between Bette Davis and Paul Henreid is absolutely electric and hands down the high point of this little melodrama. Smoking cigarettes never looked so sexy and you can practically feel the carnal desire on their faces as they smoke with each other. Claude Rains offers his calm sarcasm and brilliantly complements this stunning film. Davis was a presence and she shows her full range in this picture.
Suffering in mink supreme. The ‘woman’s picture’ par excellence with nearly all the manipulative levers pulled with just-so efficiency. The machine-tooled studio style is just about at a peak here and plays you like the proverbial kipper but it’s done with such confidence and elan who could complain too loudly? If only the Hollywood conveyer belt were covered in ermine every time.
The sentiment is noble and there are big ideas in this film, but it's hard to say that it has aged well. Now, Voyager didn't portray the way people went about life and love then and it certainly doesn't do it now. Love Affair (i.e.), done a few years early, is a better melodrama. Still, Rapper's work is often intriguing and Davis and Henreid's relationship is undoubtedly to die for.
Worth suffering through the ✮✮-level first 45 minutes. The rest is a ✮✮✮✮-grade top-dog melodrama. The cut-off point is the end of the horrible scene with Giuseppe the taxi driver when the bundling kicks off.
An absolutely brilliant melodrama...despite all the ingredients for a camp classic, it thankfully skirts that realm and I think the presence of Rains & Cooper have a lot to do with that...and Davis clearly refuses to raise her performance to the levels she would later on.