A few words about…™ Now, Voyager – in Blu-ray

4 Stars

Now, Voyager, is quintessential Davis, at the peak of her Warner Bros. years.

Rightfully, famous for the work of the leads – Ms Davis, along with Paul Henried and Claude Rains and Gladys Cooper, the film has never before been available on Blu-ray, although it has been around for years on other formats.

Derived principally from the original camera negative, via a new 4k scan for Criterion at WB’s MPI, it’s everything that I’d hoped It’s a Wonderful Life would be.

Beautiful blacks, whites and a full rich gray scale – even the dupes shine – and the film begins with 90 seconds or thereabouts of them. Sol Polito’s cinematography shines.

The score by Max Steiner is a classic, and won the Academy Award. Gladys Cooper and Bette Davis were nominated.

Not a great deal needs to be noted. Simply put, one of the great films, that deserves a place in every serious library.

The supplements, in typical Criterion fashion, are superb. I especially like Ms Davis appearing on the Dick Cavett Show – style and substance.

The only query that some might have is “who is Irving Rapper.”

Mr. Rapper, came to the Colonies from England, making his way to Hollywood in the early 1930s.

He began as a dialogue director, working on such films as Charge of the Light Brigade, The Life of Emile Zola and The Adventures of Robin Hood. He served as an assistant director as well as dialogue coach on a 1938 production, The Sisters, which paired Bette Davis and Errol Flynn.

You can probably see where this is going.

His first directorial credit was for Shining Victory in 1941, and the following year made his mark with Now, Voyager, returning to work with Ms Davis on The Corn is Green, and Deception.

Later work included The Glass Menagerie, The Brave One, and Marjorie Morningstar.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – without a doubt

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

18 Comments

  1. This film contains one of my favorite shots in film history. Ms. Davis stepping towards the gang plank on the cruise ship, while the camera cranes up to her face, she slowly raises her head so the light perfectly hits her eyes, showing how timid her character still is even though she has changed her outside appearance.

    [​IMG]

  2. Mr. Harris, one of your most informative, as well as rapturous, few words, though I am shocked–shocked–that you left out the 1978 production BORN AGAIN from Mr. Rapper's filmography, involving the religious conversion in prison of a certain Charles W. Colson.

  3. I caught this on TCM a few years ago and was blown away by Davis' performance. I'll admit that she was a bit of a blind spot for me in classic films, but I soon caught up with The Petrified Forest, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and The Whales of August (plus others). I've been saving the Warner Archive Blu of Jezebel for a double feature with Now, Voyager. This is a special sort of film that really deserves more exposure. Even better that a Criterion/Warner collaboration makes for an easy blind buy.

    I'll be picking this up from Barnes & Noble this week due to the Criterion sale – $20 is a steal for such a class, plus I'd also recommend checking out The Heiress, which they released earlier this year. Also a masterpiece of classic Hollywood, with Olivia de Havilland in just as much of a jaw-dropping central role.

  4. Patrick McCart

    I caught this on TCM a few years ago and was blown away by Davis' performance. I'll admit that she was a bit of a blind spot for me in classic films, but I soon caught up with The Petrified Forest, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and The Whales of August (plus others). I've been saving the Warner Archive Blu of Jezebel for a double feature with Now, Voyager. This is a special sort of film that really deserves more exposure. Even better that a Criterion/Warner collaboration makes for an easy blind buy.

    I'll be picking this up from Barnes & Noble this week due to the Criterion sale – $20 is a steal for such a class, plus I'd also recommend checking out The Heiress, which they released earlier this year. Also a masterpiece of classic Hollywood, with Olivia de Havilland in just as much of a jaw-dropping central role.

    You need to watch "The Letter". It's Davis at her best.

  5. Patrick McCart

    I caught this on TCM a few years ago and was blown away by Davis' performance. I'll admit that she was a bit of a blind spot for me in classic films, but I soon caught up with The Petrified Forest, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and The Whales of August (plus others). I've been saving the Warner Archive Blu of Jezebel for a double feature with Now, Voyager. This is a special sort of film that really deserves more exposure. Even better that a Criterion/Warner collaboration makes for an easy blind buy.

    I'll be picking this up from Barnes & Noble this week due to the Criterion sale – $20 is a steal for such a class, plus I'd also recommend checking out The Heiress, which they released earlier this year. Also a masterpiece of classic Hollywood, with Olivia de Havilland in just as much of a jaw-dropping central role.

    Now, Voyager will probably be one of the best "blind buys" you ever make in life. Magnificent film and so pleased to hear it's been given the treatment it so richly deserves. I envy you getting to see it for the first time.

  6. Robert Crawford

    You need to watch "The Letter". It's Davis at her best.

    It's on my list and definitely going in the next round of Warner Archive buys (along with Days of Wine and Roses, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Set-Up, and a few catch-ups). The Criterion Channel is also adding 18 Bette Davis films next month – besides Now, Voyager and All About Eve (to coincide with their physical releases), they'll have Jezebel and The Letter. They've been getting a steady stream of great classics from Warner Bros., many of which aren't on Blu-ray yet.

  7. I never get tired of watching this movie. It always makes me feel good and as if everything is going to be all right. I’m happy it has been given the release it deserves.

  8. Robert Harris

    And Rex Harrison's mother in MFL. Her career goes back to 1913.

    [​IMG]

    Robert Crawford

    She was a fine actress.

    bujaki

    And gorgeous in her youth.

    AND one of the MOST photographed women of her day. I have always loved Gladys Cooper, especially because she wasn't afraid to play unsympathetic parts for the "good of the show." She always brought class to any part, whether it be in an A picture or a B. Her presence raises programmers like THE BLACK CAT and THE GAY FALCON into something much classier than their budgets would suggest. She was thrilled to get to play Lady Nelson in THAT HAMILTON WOMAN but was "bummed" that, due to the mechanics of the plot, she had to be unsympathetic. It brings up an interesting connection in that her both her son, John Buckmaster, and her stepson, Jack Merivale, were bookend companions to Vivien Leigh before and after the Olivier years.

    AND, despite their on screen fireworks, she and Bette Davis were quite good friends! 🙂

  9. Will Krupp

    AND, despite their on screen fireworks, she and Bette Davis were quite good friends! 🙂

    I just saw a Dick Cavett Show from 1971 in which Bette Davis sadly notes that Gladys Cooper had just died the night before. Miss Davis expressed great admiration for her talent. The show is a bonus extra on one of the new Criterion BluRays of either ALL ABOUT EVE or NOW VOYAGER. Each disc has a different Cavett episode.

  10. Rob_Ray

    I just saw a Dick Cavett Show from 1971 in which Bette Davis sadly notes that Gladys Cooper had just died the night before. Miss Davis expressed great admiration for her talent. The show is a bonus extra on one of the new Criterion BluRays of either ALL ABOUT EVE or NOW VOYAGER. Each disc has a different Cavett episode.

    Now, Voyager has that interview, and Davis speaks quite lovingly about her talent, her beauty, and her legacy.

Leave a Reply