11 September 2007 | Myrt98
Bette Davis Transforms into a Raving Beauty
"Now, Voyager" is arguably one of the best of all motion pictures by Bette Davis. As Charlotte Vale, a rich Bostonian smothered by a mother who had her late in life, Davis plays a frumpy, low-esteemed, near recluse of a woman. That is, until her cousin intervenes by bringing a psychiatrist, Dr. Jacquith (Claude Rains) into Miss Vale's life.
Miss Vale's cousin and shrink conspire to bring her out of the steel shell her domineering mother (Gladys Cooper) has encased her within. Their idea is to send her on a cruise with the doctor's advice to learn everything, do everything, engage everyone. The results are a remarkable transformation of a woman who believed she was an 'ugly duckling' into Miss Bette Davis as a sizzling hot beauty like she never was before or after in any other film.
How Miss Davis didn't view herself as a beauty or use her beauty to create her success as an actress is what "Now, Voyager," proves is most remarkable about her 66 year long acting career. If she had wanted to be a "bombshell," she could have, two snaps up. Davis didn't want to be a "movie star," or "glamor girl." She wanted to be a great actor and achieved her life's goal. Not only did she make her career using acting skill and shrewd business finesse, Bette Davis also made quite a few other people's acting careers work well for them by taking a back seat in films with her role having a weaker script. Thus, as co-actors they could collaborate to make out of an average screenplay a screen hit and a new acting star. Davis was so unselfish an actor that she was in the acting business to benefit the art. That's why she's my favorite actor of all time: she was so self-assured as an actor in a man's world (in the 20th century), that her ego didn't get in the way of making truly great movies with co-actors with whom she worked with as a team player. "Now, Voyage," is one such film. Clearly, she steals the show, but she takes Paul Heinried (love interest, Jerry) right next to her, conjoined at the hip. What a delight it must have been to work with a true artist who was a great expert at her craft.
Bogie & Bergman in "Casablanca," don't have one thing over Davis & Heinreid in "Now, Voyager," when it comes to the most intense, well acted, extremely well scripted romantic drama that has it all. Davis is glamorous beyond compare and Heinreid is a smooth, sensuous, suitor.
This is my favorite of all of her motion pictures (at least I believe I own and have seen them all). How anyone could say that Bette Davis wasn't a raving beauty after they saw her in this film is beyond me. Not only does "Jerry" fall madly in love with "Charlotte," so does audience after audience, generation after generation.
There's much more to this great story, but I'm not telling! Buy the DVD.