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Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Now, Voyager (1942)

One of the most remarkable films in the monumental career of Bette Davis, “Now Voyager” was a hit of the 1940s. This classic made by Warner Brothers Studios is the screen version of the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty, and it reunites the legendary actress Bette Davis with some other fine actors: Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, and Gladys Cooper. The story is really interesting and it is focused on the main character, Charlotte Vale, an old maid, a frustrated woman or, we might as well say “an ugly duckling”, who turns into a beautiful, desirable and loving woman. The metamorphosis of Bette Davis throughout the whole film is astonishing, and the direction of Irving Rapper is by all means a solid, masterful work. I would like to note the outstanding performance of Gladys Cooper, who played wonderfully well the dominating and selfish mother of Charlotte. It’s not easy to act as an old, bitter woman at only 56 years old. But Gladys managed to be so convincing in all her scenes, and I think she deserved her Oscar nomination, together with Bette Davis (too bad they didn’t win the awards). The film received an Oscar for Best Music, composed by the gifted Max Steiner, a genius of the dramatic themes. I highly recommend you to watch “Now, Voyager” because of the powerful story, a real-life lesson; the cast is also a fundamental reason why this film survived the passing of time; one could never forget the face of Bette Davis in her suffering moments, then her revival, rising from the ashes of the phoenix. She is a winner here, because she has will, a heart of gold, and the necessary strength to fight for her life and to survive. She is also a woman capable to renounce unselfishly to her only and true love. In the final scene, with Bette Davis and Paul Henreid, you could hear one of the most memorable lines in cinema history: “Oh Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars”. The perfect ending to a flawless film, that you should watch at least once in your lifetime.

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