Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cinema Tuesdays {Now, Voyager}

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"The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find."
~ Walt Whitman

This 1942 romantic drama (which I'm sure you've already seen or at least heard of) was the biggest hit of Bette Davis' career. She plays a spinster who's life has been dominated by her wealthy mother, who's a real bitch. She had Charlotte in her forties and never wanted her in the first place, reminding her of this fact at every opportunity, and has treated her like a servant for her entire life. Not surprisingly, poor Charlotte finally has a nervous breakdown and is sent to recover at Claude Rains' (and his velvet voice) sanatorium. Away from the control of her mother, Charlotte loses weight and gets a makeover. As a final test of her new found independence, she goes on a cruise to South America, where she meets her fellow passenger, Paul Henreid, who's married to a manipulative, jealous and a real bitch of a wife. He can't get a divorce because of his devotion to his two daughters, the younger of whom is also an unwanted child and has some serious emotional issues from being unwanted and unloved by her mother.
Naturally, Bette Davis and Paul Henreid bond and fall in love and have one of the sexiest sex scenes where Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes on a moonlit balcony and gives one to Bette Davis. Fade Out. Cut to the next morning.
Of course they can't be together, but Bette Davis does expertly develop Charlotte as a character throughout the movie, gaining her independence, going against her tyrannical mother's will and eventually "adopting" Paul Henreid's daughter and by the end of the picture, they finally reach an understanding regarding the state of their relationship.

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