"Now, Voyager" - An unpithy recommendation

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ira Siegel, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. Ira Siegel

    Ira Siegel Stunt Coordinator

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    I just watched Warner Bros.' June 14, 2005 DVD release of "Now Voyager," which WB theatrically released on October 22, 1942. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035140/fullcredits for all the credits.

    This movie is about a self-described spinster, Charlotte (played by Bette Davis), thoroughly dominated by her mother (played terrifically by Gladys Cooper). Charlotte, who was born many years after her two brothers, was thought of by her mother as not much more than a favored servant. OK, that's a bit of an overstatement, but mom made a point of dominating and suppressing Charlotte with the intent of assuring that Charlotte would be dependent upon solely upon mom and serve mom in her dotage.

    As we are led to infer, mom's scheme works better and better as the years go by. Charlotte is such a pitiful person that her only slightly younger niece, June (played delightfully by Bonita Granville), thinks everyone is supposed to "rag" on Charlotte.

    June's mother, and Charlotte's sister-in-law, Lisa (played by Ilka Chase), has seen enough to finally conclude that something is wrong. Lisa, the unsung heroine of this piece, brings along a psychiatrist (played by Claude Rains) on one of her visits to mother-in-law and Charlotte at their Boston home. The psychiatrist correctly sizes everything up and, through treatment with Charlotte away from mom, sets Charlotte on a new course, with budding self-confidence and openness to new experiences.

    A sea-voyage to South America is Charlotte's "coming out party." Miracle of miracles, on this voyage, during which Charlotte is not quite used to being confident or open, Charlotte meets her soul mate, Jerry (played by Paul Henreid), an unhappily married man with two young teen daughters whom he loves very much.

    Will Charlotte survive a romance which, odds are, is likely to be ill-fated? Will Charlotte's new confidence disappear when she returns home and is confronted by her mother, up to mom's usual ways?

    Watch the movie. It's a real treat.

    I usually remember films of this era from their frequent television displays in the 50s and 60s. However, I had no memory of this film. I purchased it because almost every serious review of "Casablanca" mentions that Paul Henreid had just come off of a very strong performance in "Now, Voyager." I always thought that Paul Henried's performance in Casablanca was just so-so, with not much to do and his generating no chemistry with anyone.

    Well, his part in "Now, Voyager" is just a bit bigger than his part in Casablanca, but he scores home run after home run in "Now, Voyager."

    "Now Voyager" is Bette Davis' vehicle. She must be on screen for at least 110 of the movie's 118 minutes. Bette Davis is spectacular. Even if the story were not good, one could justify watching this movie just for her performance.

    Fortunately, the story is very good.

    The image and audio quality are excellent. To me this DVD is of the same quality as the latest "Casablanca" release.

    My only gripe: The Cast & Crew highlights has some good stuff on Bette Davis. For some reason, I can not get the cursor to move to any of the other cast and crew to get their career highlights. I've tried on two different DVD players.
     
  2. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    Great film, fantasatic score by Max Steiner and the transfer is excellent. It looks like the film was shot yesterday !!
     
  3. SteveJKo

    SteveJKo Second Unit

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    For some reason, this film and Casablanca have become a tradition on each and every new years day (perhaps because both are about releasing the past and starting new?). A great DVD presentation of a great movie.
     
  4. Sergio A

    Sergio A Stunt Coordinator

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    My recollection is that the reason your cursor can't pick anything else up in the cast and crew and section is that Davis is in fact the only one featured - no other details are there for the other participants - I amy be wrong, but I think that's the reason.
     
  5. Ira Siegel

    Ira Siegel Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Sergio.
     

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