John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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A fantastic melodrama dealing with mental torment and bullying. An amazing performance from a youthful Bette Davis.
One of Bette Davis finest performances. A must see for her fans. This is a classic butter sweet romance from the 1940's best.
This film tugs on a few different heartstrings, with themes of a domineering mother, being an awkward, depressed young person, finding a deep connection and love with someone who can't be yours, and then personally evolving to the point of being able to transcend all of that, and finding one's path. It's really quite a touching film, and Bette Davis turns in another brilliant performance. The supporting cast around her is strong as well, and features Gladys Cooper (her mother), Paul Henreid (her lover), Claude Rains (her wise doctor). And, how fascinating is it that both Henreid and Rains began filming Casalanca immediately afterwards; clearly a great year for them.
The film scores points for me for having its title come from a Walt Whitman line in 'Leaves of Grass': "The untold want by life and land ne'er granted; Now, Voyager sail thou forth, to seek and find," which is appropriate. The film speaks to being honest with oneself, to one's identity, as well as to the person you love, even if it's complicated. I loved the little touches of the inner voice that director Irving Rapper employs, which helps underscore this.
It's heartwarming to see how those in love make each other better people. She begins to bloom, and radiate confidence after receiving simple acts of kindness and appreciation. He returns to his passion, architecture, and is more empathetic and understanding of his troubled daughter. The scene where they meet by chance again at a party, and have a conversation interlaced with whispered remarks of tenderness (such as her saying to him she could "cry with pride" over him following his dream) is lovely.
At the same time, she's not defined by him, or dependent on him. In fact, the movie is a celebration of independence, and shows how it can be done gracefully and with class. Her strength come through in so many ways: in standing up to her mother, determining her path with another suitor, asserting herself with her old doctor, and ultimately deciding the terms she'll have her relationship with Henreid on. While she admits that "I've just been a big sentimental fool. It's a tendency I have," she also calmly says "Please let me go" when a big romantic moment threatens to sweep her away.
The story about his child was touching, as we see Davis help her, as she was once helped, but I thought this part dragged on too long, and needed tightening up. It felt overly melodramatic and false; for one thing, where was the mother? There was a much earlier scene with a Brazilian taxi driver that got silly, and should have been left on the cutting room floor as well. On the other hand, I loved those last lines. He asks her, "And will you be happy, Charlotte?" And she responds "Oh Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." How brilliant that line is; there is something larger than ourselves, larger than what others consider happiness.
Loving this for the reason it's Bette doing what she does best! Being "Divine" darling! Divine!
Oh, and smoking like a docker too!
This story of a backward mother-controlled spinster who is transformed by love was unforgettable when I first saw it. Davis and Henreid are so divine on screen together, the chemistry between them seems so real, that this is one of the few movies where I forgive the cigarettes being used as a sexy prop. Claude Rains and Gladys Cooper are excellent as always. The only person who is hard to watch is the actress who plays Henreid's daughter.
There's a lot of cheese here, but it's romantic and overall, a very good film. Plus, this is classic Bette Davis; one of her best!
Bette Davis giving hope to all the glasses wearing, spinsters around the world
Now, Voyager is a film that takes place over an indeterminate amount of time as we meet a damaged young woman who goes through therapy and becomes much stronger and more independent. She then falls in love and has to deal with the difficulty of loving a man who she can never be with. This is a tour de force from Bette Davis who displays such remarkable depth and range in the character of Charlotte Vale. Also notable is the brilliant Claude Rains who adds so much to the character of therapist Dr. Jaquith in a limited number of scenes. I have a hard time with films that focus heavily on affair-based romances, particularly when they will not be leaving their spouses, and that's what happens in this movie. However, they utilize that as a plot point and actually make a brilliant 3rd act turn that I didn't see coming. It might be one of the most romantic endings without being romantic at all, which will make sense if you see the film. I didn't love the passage of time in Now, Voyager because they would jump a lot and it was kind of disorienting for me. I wish they had put a note on the screen indicating how long it has been since the last scene, in order to instantly get me in the right frame of mind for the next scene. Also there are parts of the film that drag, and in a modern romance they would have trimmed down some of that stuff. Despite some flaws I still think Now, Voyager is a very good film and one I'd gladly watch again sometime.
The title comes from a Walt Whitman poem about unfulfilled desires -- and Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) has them. She's been held back (all the way into her thirties) by her domineering mother, so much so that she plays the first scenes of the movie in ugly drag (with unruly eyebrows) on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Fortunately, Charlotte's sister-in-law brings sensible psychologist Dr Jacquith (Claude Rains) into the picture and he rightly identifies, as Carl Rogers might later deduce, that internalizing her mother's expectations for her is the crux of the problem. So, he proposes that she escape away on a South American cruise - where, transformed miraculously into the Bette Davis we know, she meets and falls in love with, an unfortunately married man played by Paul Henreid. I wonder why the most emotionally stirring films are always about those impossible loves that are never to be, never fulfilled (although there are some innuendoes here about a stormy night in Rio), never ending in a life-long pairing. Is it because these possible futures remain in the land of "what might be" keeping expectations and dreams high, even when all loves that do result in relationships must crash down to reality and become an everyday, if not humdrum, thing? Thus the sad dreams continue, unchecked by life. Charlotte manages to sublimate her longing for Jerry (Henreid) into a mothering instinct, taking over guardianship of his younger daughter for whom her own mother seems to hold no interest. An unusual arrangement to be sure, and probably one that would not, could not, exist today. So, Davis takes it on the chin, as she does in so many movies, but she comes through tougher than before. With its sweeping Max Steiner score and numerous touching and portentous moments, Now, Voyager, ends up being inspiring to those who want to take control of their own lives and navigate to the points beyond where they might currently be stuck. Onward!
The sentiment is noble and there are big ideas in this film, but it's hard to say that it aged well. Now, Voyager didn't portray the way people went about life and love then and it certainly doesn't do it now. Love Affair (i.e.), done a few years early, is a better melodrama. Still, Rapper's work is often intriguing and Davis and Henreid's relationship is undoubtedly to die for.