Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Old Acquaintance (1943) Film Review - Bette Davis

Plot Summary - POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD - - Soap Opera and rivalry following twenty years in the lives of two best gal pals. Successful novelist Katherine "Kit" Marlowe (Bette Davis) arrive back in her small hometown, after years away in NYC, to meet up with her old best friend, hot-tempered Millie Drake (Miriam Hopkins) and husband Preston (John Loder). Jealousy and envy seems to surround these two women as Millie, a housewife about to have a baby, has secretly been writing a book: she longs for a career as a writer, like her friend. She soon becomes a huge success writing romance novels, and as the years pass, Preston - not the kind of man who seems to enjoy his wife earning more money than he does (yeesh) - becomes an unhappy alcoholic whose only happiness is his daughter Dierdre and - yes - Kit. Preston and Kit had sparks the first moment they met, this has bloomed into love unfulfilled ten years later - Kit has also become sort of a mother figure to the daughter. But Kit sticks by her long-time friend even though Millie must be treated with kid gloves a lot of the time as she is given to being bad tempered, irrational, and rather juvenile. Preston leaves Millie, the years go by, and into WWII where Preston and Kit are both dating other people (Kit's is a youth ten years her junior), and Diedre has become a beautiful young woman - more soap to come!!

Review - Good fun, with lots of great acting as the great Bette Davis takes control of the film, but Miriam Hopkins also goes all out, acting UP a storm as drama queen Millie. Basically, a familiar plot - one woman has a career, one has a home and family - each sort of wants what the other has. Okay - a small complaint regarding something which is very common in films made in the 30s/40s, the silents too - when the film begins it is 1924, it moves forward to 1932, then into WWII and the clothing they wear in the film is all current day 1940s attire, no period costuming at all. Also, the way they age Bette to make her look forty-something in the later part of the film is to simply add a gray streak to the top of her head - hmm. Rating - 8.5/10 stars

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