Dark Victory - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dark Victory Reviews

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August 4, 2017
This never sounded appealing to me. And I was right. It's melodramatic and fairly depressing. About the only good things were Bette Davis' performance, and seeing Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan in supporting roles.
½ June 2, 2017
It takes some silly and not altogether believable sidesteps along the way, but "Dark Victory" garners one of Bette Davis' most memorable performances and, also manages to pull a couple of tears out of this hardended critic's eyes.
September 23, 2016
On paper, this film should not succeed. It concerns a strong willed and passionate woman who's life is filled with purile distractions, who is dying of an incurable illness, and the doctor who falls in love with her. The film's glory involves not only a superb performance by Bette Davis, and an incredible death scene, but also the persons of her doctor and her best friend are so skillfully played that the authenticity of the piece is undeniable. Even Bogart appears in a supporting role as the horsehand to good effect. The film, released in 1939, faced stiff awards competition, in what was arguably the greatest year for film. While nominated for several awards, the film never achieved any, beaten out by Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz most notably.
½ June 30, 2016
Seeing this for the first time last night, I couldn't believe both what a fine film and great performance from Bette Davis. No wonder she's still considered one of the greatest actresses that ever lived. Very few today could hold a candle to her talent, and to the beauty she had in her heyday.
½ November 27, 2015
Poses interesting ethical questions and shows the human side of a medical diagnosis. Davis is just superb as this character, and it is quite a departure from her later roles involving sassy, bitter and headstrong women (she is light and bubbly here by comparison).
I found it to be very charming and romantic and quite sad towards the end. I only wish Davis' character was a bit more developed, as this does veer into melodrama. Overall, though, an enjoyable watch.
May 30, 2015
Shamelessly manipulative melodrama won Bette Davis an Oscar. It is still quite entertaining, but it actually just a professionally made tearjerker typical of the era.
January 18, 2015
Dramón a la justa medida de Bette Davis.
½ August 9, 2014
The ultimate in weepy, sentimental chick flicks!
May 28, 2014
Bette Davis was mesmerizing in this movie. I just love her in it.
March 3, 2014
Dark Victory is an incredible film. It is about a young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, and must decide whether she'll meet her final days with dignity. Bette Davis and George Brent excellent performances. The screenplay is well written. Edmund Goulding did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama. Dark Victory is a must see.
February 16, 2014
If ever a film was carried purely on one actors performance, this is it. Bette Davis at her best (although I love her more in All About Eve).

George Brent didn't have a lot of personality and a William Powell (or maybe even Bogart?) would have been better suited.

Bogart himself seems so out of place its depressing. What's with the accent? Not only is it bad, but it disappears most of the time. Poor Bogey, stuck as a contract player.

The rest are all fine, they just all get blown off the screen by Davis.
½ February 10, 2014
Bette Davis abolishes the latter hideous image of "Baby Jane" in my mind by portraying Judith Traherne, a wealthy, optimistic woman who confronts incurable cancer in her late months. Davis is pitiful but exhilarating enough here. The scene she becomes blind saddens my mind deeply! Another notable fact that Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan are having cameo appearances makes it more worthwhile to watch.
February 5, 2014
An odd melange of melodrama, camp and pathos punctuated by Bette Davis's signature tack-spitting line readings. Brain cancer never looked so "prognosis positive."
Super Reviewer
½ October 10, 2013
A woman discovers that she has a brain tumor and falls in love with her doctor.
When viewed vis a vis Ikiru, Akira Kurosawa's brilliant film, Dark Victory has a lot to learn. The film posits that a patient's knowledge of his/her condition is detrimental, but Kurosawa is wiser, and the ruminations on mortality and life's usefulness are more poignant and inspiring. Though its embrasure of love, marriage, and romance feel petty against its betters, Dark Victory is a good film in and of itself, propelled by a great Bette Davis performance and George Brent's soulful gazes. Davis is delightful, and the film is saccharine in all the right places.
Overall, you should watch this if you can't get a hold of Ikiru.
Super Reviewer
½ July 23, 2013
A four hanky tearjerker...well if you are overly sensitive and weep when little children lose their balls down sewer drains. Make no mistake that Bette Davis is great. She always is but the viewer feels too manipulated.
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2013
Its a pretty silly melodrama that even Bette Davis' absurd acting choices can't save. On a side note, this film also features a terrible supporting performance by Ronald Reagan.
½ February 15, 2013
Great performance by Davis and Bogart chips in well. Interesting to see Reagan but he was awful. The story excellent and although melodramatic in parts it was never corny.
February 6, 2013
A stunning film, beautiful and deeply affecting performance from Bette Davis - the room did get a bit dusty as the screen faded to black representing her blindness and ultimate death.
January 23, 2013
Unapologetically soapy and stagebound, what keeps it from being another weak weepie is Bette Davis. Her facing down mortality could have been trite, but her unique screen presence illuminates and fleshes out her dying heiress, giving her both a feisty fight for life and a growing calm in the face of death - and in return, the film gets a surprisingly potent intelligence and depth. They really don't make 'em like they used to. (Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for Bogie!)
½ November 25, 2012
I pretty much knew how this movie had to end. Still, Bette Davis's journey to acceptance was amazing to watch.
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