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The Old Maid (1939)


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Release Date: Sep 2, 1939 Limited



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 513

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Movie Info

When ZoŽ Akins' play The Old Maid (based on a novel by Edith Wharton) won the 1934-1935 Pulitzer Prize, the selection was roundly condemned by critics, who felt that Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour was more deserving, but had lost because of its lesbian theme. Certainly, Akins' story of the relationship between two Southern cousins in the years between 1833 and 1854 is nothing spectacular. Delia Lovell marries James Ralston, leaving her old beau Clem Spender out in the cold. Delia's cousin


Drama, Classics

Edith Wharton, Casey Robinson

Apr 1, 2008

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (0) | DVD (2)

A well-oiled assembly of betrayals, vendettas, and maternal passion plays

November 11, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Bette Davis at the peak of her acting chops, a brilliant, melodramatic role.

November 1, 2008

Audience Reviews for The Old Maid

"the old maid" is a tear-jerking melodrama about unrequited love and maternal sacrifice, another soap opera-alike flick to showcase bette davis' craftmanship.

davis plays a woman who loves her best friend's former beau(george brent) whom she elopes with after he confirms her cancellation of their engagement. so davis takes over her best friend's former finacee and concieves of his child. later on davis constructs a orphanage to conceal the real identity of her own daughter. then her best friend adopts her child (seemingly just an orphan) so these two women together raise the child of the man they both love for years while davis remains disgracefully "the old maid" at the cost of another chance of potential marriage. but indignantly when her own child grows up, she resents davis' severe upbringing, deeming her real mother just her auntie charlotte, mocking davis as "the old maid" last, the child follows her adopted mom's advice to kiss her aunt on the cheek before she departs on the carriage with her groom after the wedding.

undeniably, miss davis is a talented actress who is willing to uglify herself with elder-woman cosmetics to fit into the needs of the script. but the whole story is utterly over-sentimental with overlonged plot developments, dragged and delayed, just like accompanying your elder parents to watch a soap opera which you cannot wait for it to end!

davis usually selects movies with hidden preachy messages to encourage female audience to be strong and courageous, and she shall be the representative of the new brave woman, a role model there to cheer women on their own stance to serve the puritanical feminine virtues. "the old maid" is too healthy to disgest into the stomach of every cynist or skeptist. you cannot help but exclaim "another chic flick!" personally i don't consider it defying to comply to a man's whimsical wills and devote your life to an obscured belief of love. maybe it's more fun to see a brittle joan crawford pose a gun and remark "the world ain't made for nice guys!" ha.
May 20, 2008
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

A well-done meloncholy drama of a lively young debutante turned bitter old-maid.
July 27, 2009
nefnie lee

Super Reviewer

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