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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Movie Review: "Now, Voyager" (1942)

This Sunday I'm going to be reviewing "Now, Voyager" -- the last movie of my summer vacation, but it did end on a high note! I have really been loving Bette Davis this summer (but you all knew that), and this film did not disappoint me... let's get on with the review!

Since I'm pretty bad/confusing at describing films, I've decided now that I will just pull the summaries from Netflix, with all due credit to them, of course. I think most of the time their synopses are pretty good and it will save me time ;)

Bridled by an autocratic mother, Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) borders on a nervous breakdown. But when a psychiatrist (Claude Rains) persuades Charlotte to drastically change her life, she blossoms into a confident, self-possessed woman. Charlotte then takes a voyage, where she falls in love with the unhappily married Jerry (Paul Henreid). Though their romance is doomed, Charlotte finds solace in helping Jerry's emotionally unhinged daughter. [from Netflix]

The cast has:
  • Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale
  • Paul Henreid as Jerry Durrance
  • Claude Raines as Dr. Jaquith
  • And the character actress Mary Wickes as a nurse (she is familiar to me from "I Love Lucy")
It is directed by Irving Rapper.

I really liked this movie. I thought it was a good drama, and though some parts may be considered corny or too coincidental, I enjoyed it enough to like the page for it on Facebook (lol).

Charlotte Vale must be one of my most favorite characters ever! It is a journey for the viewers to watch as she transforms from the shaky, spinster "Aunt Charlotte" who hoards dirty novels, booze, and cigarettes 

to a beautiful (at least, in that Bette Davis way), confident, and sophisticated woman who is ready to travel the world and have her cigarettes lit by Paul Henried.

Not only did I love the character, I adored Bette playing her. I think she did a fantastic job and I think she's built for the role. Though a pretty new dress, a chic new hat, a haircut and some makeup help Charlotte Vale transform, it is her attitude that takes the biggest transformation - the new Charlotte is confident and ready to capture the world, but not forgetting her past.

This film was made 1942, the same year as "Casablanca", which also had Paul Henreid and Claude Raines. Since Paul Henried's character in this is married but despite that he begins having an affair with Bette (in some far off, romantic country), I cracked, "Now we know what Lazlo was doing when Rick and Ilsa were in Paris!"

I was a little worried before watching that it may become slow at parts, but I assure you it will not! This movie captured from me the start and did not relent until the end. Sometimes in movies, even good ones, you'll find those few moments that are slow and make your mind wander off, but I did not feel that once in "Now, Voyager". 

Paul Henreid's Jerry is a likable character even though his relationship with Charlotte is doomed from the start. Bette and Paul have good chemistry, as well.

Gladys Cooper is Charlotte's domineering mother who pushes her to the point of a nervous breakdown. This is a wonderful love to hate character - I mean, one look at that clenched jaw framed by snowy white hair scolding Bette Davis for getting her life back will have you wanting to throw a punch at the screen (which is excellent for this particular role, of course!)

I also liked Claude Raines as the doctor, and also enjoyed the performance of the child actress who played Jerry's daughter. There were lots of cute scenes between her and Bette as Charlotte Vale takes this young, whispery, shaky girl and helps hand her the confidence earlier in life - rather searching for it for years like Charlotte had.

This has all the good elements of a wonderful drama - romance, edge of the seat moments, good acting, it was a splendid film! The title comes from this snippet of a Walt Whitman poem:

"The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find."

Words given to Charlotte Vale by her doctor, instilling in her a new confidence and bright hope for the future.

Though, above all, my favorite line in the whole film will have to be the memorable: "Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."

Said by Charlotte, it basically expresses her feelings that though she will not get everything she has wanted, there is still beautiful things for her to cling onto.

I love a good movie score and this one is beautiful. It is fluid and romantic and will carry you off to different worlds- It won the Oscar, after all! I think I'm going to try to find it for my playlist.

I really enjoyed this film and I'm going to go as far to give it a four and a half out of five. To me, it was a beautiful, moving drama and "don't let's ask for the moon" will have to be one of my favorite memorable lines.

What else can I say? I love this movie. And I guess the underlying fact is, I don't have much to complain about it - you should watch it, now! And you can watch it online here, for free, so you have no excuse not to! ;)


That's all for now, folks. And for those of us who have long weekends, have a great one :)


Audrey said...

"Now we know what Lazlo was doing when Rick and Ilsa were in Paris!"

Haha! Great observation. I never made that connection before. :D

Rianna said...

Haha, I guess I'm quite observant ;)

StanwyckFan said...

Good review, Rianna! I'm totally going to watch this now. I wanted to before, but another review I read said it was slow and I didn't want to waste any time with something that was going to bore me to death. :) Thanks for the suggestion.

Rianna said...

Thank you! :) You should give it a try. I didn't find it slow at all, actually -- maybe it's just me. ;)

Kate Gorman said...

This was the first black and white movie I ever saw (and my first Bette Davis movie). I was about nine years old. I fell in love with the characters, the story, music and the actors. I love this movie! :)

James Brannan said...

Greetings from the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society! This is a fine article.

I, Rebekah Brannan, have not participated much in the blog world in the past, but I intend to become more involved now.

I would like very much for you to participate in my upcoming blogathon, The Singing Sweethearts Blogathon, which will be my first real participation in PEPS. This blogathon, which will be hosted around Valentine’s Day, is celebrating the famous singing team Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.

You can read the rules of the blogathon at: If you want to join, please comment and tell me your topic, if you have chosen one. I hope you’ll join me in honoring this brilliant team and the holiday of love!


Rebekah Brannan

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