Now Voyager

14 Aug

                                                            “The untold want by life and land ne’er granted,
                                                              Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find.”
Summary:   Based on the novel Now Voyager by Olive Higgins Prouty this is a classic Story about a Boston spinster, Charlotte Vale, who under therapy breaks from the heavy hand of her mother and finds romance with a married man. 
                                                                                                    CAST

Betty Davis……………………………………………………….. Charlotte Vale

Paul Heinreid……………………………………Jeremiah Duvaux Durrance

Claude Raines…………………………………………………………. Dr. Jaquith

Gladys Cooper………………………………………………… Mrs. Windle Vale

Ilka Chase…………………………………………………………………..Lisa Vale

Bonita Granville………………………………………………………….June Vale

John Loder……………………………………………………….Elliot Livingston

Lee Patrick……………………………………………………………Deb McIntyre

James Rennie……………………………………………………..Frank McIntyre

Mary Wickes…………………………………………………Nurse Dora Pickford

Janis Wilson………………………..Christine “Tina” Durrance (uncredited)

David Clyde……………………………………………………………………..William

Review:  This 1942 film classic starring Betty Davis as Boston spinster Charlotte Vale, is best known for it’s then controversial depiction of a spinster falling for a married man. Paul Heinreid, (think Casablanca) falls for Vale as well after they meet aboard an ocean liner headed for Rio. The sexual innuendo abounds as Heinreid’s character, Jeremiah Duvaux Durrance so famously lights two cigarettes with one match and gives one to Vale.

Charlotte Vale an unattractive, overweight, repressed, unmarried woman is dominated by her over bearing, dominating mother, an aristocratic Boston widow whose verbal and emotional abuse of her daughter has contributed to the woman’s complete lack of self-confidence. Fearing Charlotte is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, her sister-in-law Lisa introduces her to psychiatrist Dr. Jaquith, who recommends she spend time in his sanatorium.

Away from her mother’s control, Charlotte blossoms. The transformed woman, at Lisa’s urging, opts to take a lengthy cruise rather than immediately return home. On board ship, she meets a married man, Jeremiah Duvaux Durrance  who is traveling with his friends Deb and Frank McIntyre. It is from them that Charlotte learns of Jerry’s devotion to his young daughter, Christine (“Tina”), and how it keeps him from divorcing his wife, a manipulative, jealous woman who keeps Jerry from engaging in his chosen career of architecture, despite the fulfillment he gets from it.

Charlotte and Jerry become friendly, and in Rio De Janerio  the two are stranded on Sugarloaf Mountain when their car crashes. They miss the ship and spend five days together before Charlotte flies to Buenos Aires to rejoin the cruise. Although they have fallen in love, they decide it would be best not to see each other again.

When she arrives home, Charlotte’s family is stunned by the dramatic changes in her appearance and demeanor. Her mother is determined to regain control over her daughter, but Charlotte is resolved to remain independent. The memory of Jerry’s love and devotion help to give her the strength she needs to remain resolute.

Charlotte becomes engaged to wealthy, well-connected widower Elliot Livingston, but after a chance meeting with Jerry, she breaks off the engagement, about which she quarrels with her mother. Her mother becomes so angry that she has a heart attack and dies. Guilty and distraught, Charlotte returns to the sanatorium.

When she arrives, she is immediately diverted from her own problems when she meets lonely, unhappy Tina, who greatly reminds her of herself; both were unwanted and unloved by their mothers. She is shaken out of her depression and instead becomes interested in Tina’s welfare. With Dr. Jaquith’s permission she takes the girl under her wing. When she improves, Charlotte takes her home to Boston.

Jerry and Dr. Jaquith visit the Vale home, where Jerry is delighted to see the changes in his daughter. While he initially pities Charlotte, believing her to be settling in her life, he’s taken aback by her contempt for his initial condescension. Dr. Jaquith has agreed to allow Charlotte to keep Tina there with the understanding that her relationship with Jerry will remain platonic. She tells Jerry that she sees Tina as his gift to her and her way of being close to him. When Jerry asks her if she’s happy, Charlotte finds much to value in her life and if it isn’t everything she would want, tells him, “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars,” a line ranked #46 in the A.F.I.’s list of the top one hundred movie quotes of all time.

When Bette Davis learned about the project, she campaigned for and won the role. More than any other of her previous films, Davis became absorbed in the role, not only reading the original novel but becoming involved in details such as choosing her wardrobe personally. Consulting with designer Orry-Kelly, she suggested a drab outfit, including an ugly foulard dress for Charlotte initially, to contrast with the stylish, “timeless” creations that mark her later appearance on the cruise ship.

Not surprisingly in 2007, Now, Voyager was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The film is on DVD and may be found on Amazon, Netflix and most major DVD outlets.

Recommended:    

 

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