• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:April 3, 2019

Dark Victory

NEVER A LOVE SO EXQUISITE! SHE SMILED AT THE COST, AND BRAVELY PAID THE RECKONING WHEN HER HAPPY HEART’S HAPPY DANCING ¬†WAS ENDED!

Cancer is a disease that used to be reserved for courageous screen heroines in particular, but this movie is a fine example of how Hollywood used to turn predictability into great entertainment.¬†It‚Äôs interesting to see how unrealistically the disease is portrayed ‚Äď damned if a dying lady should be forced to face death without decent makeup! Bette Davis is very good as the 23-year-old socialite whose carefree life is shattered by a brain tumour. This simple soaper cleverly guides the victim and the audience through feelings of fear, joy of life and later on irrevocable despair. Ronald¬† Reagan is fun in an early part.¬†

1939-U.S. 106 min. B/W. Produced by David Lewis. Directed by Edmund Goulding. Screenplay: Casey Robinson. Play: George Emerson Brewer, Jr., Bertram Bloch. Cast: Bette Davis (Judith Trahearne), George Brent (Fred Steele), Humphrey Bogart (Michael O’Leary), Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ronald Reagan, Cora Witherspoon… Henry Travers.

Trivia: The original ending, where Judith’s horse wins a race and Michael is moved to tears, was cut. Remade as Stolen Hours (1963) and for TV in 1976.

Last word: “The character of Anne was… to act as a sort of one-person Greek chorus, so that the central doomed figure would not have to cry for herself. The friend would do it. This was a wonderful idea and strengthened the drama immeasurably (regardless of how it was going to be played or by whom). Edmund Goulding believed that it was the absence of such a character in the original… that forced Judith into too much suffering and made the play fail.” (Fitzgerald, “Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory”)

 

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