A very good friend is gnashing her teeth over my having reviewed 999 movies and not yet making it to 1000.This is for you Lisa!
The Anniversary is one of Bette Davis' most campy,viscious roles. The dialogue is razor sharp,clipped and maniacally melodramatic like only Davis could have done. As the matriarch of an affluent family,Bette maintains a death like grip over her three highly emasculated sons,controlling and manipulating them through,blackmail,guilt,deception and dialogue that symbolically castrates them over,and over again.
The occassion is a her yearly mandatory "party" wherein she and her broken children "celebrate" her marriage to her late husband.
Bette has center stage as she forces her three adult sons and two of their ssignificant others,to go through a highly ritualized series of events,in honor of her late husband. Within tthis "festive" event,her character delights in emotionally torturing all,with tthe coldness and cruelty of a maternal Mengele.
She allows for occassional momentary relief for her victims and then, like a cobra,lashes out and destroys any sense of peace and security during the "party"-loving every minute, watching them squirm and assume the fetal position. One might say that Norman Bates mother,was probably a kinder gentler version of this character.
Film noire fans MUST see this film,as well as those who mourn the lost art of dialogue in the movies.