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Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) lives under the thumb of her tyrannical mother (Gladys Cooper) until a nervous breakdown sends her to a sanatorium run by kindly Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains). After extensive mental treatments, a slimmer, radiant but still painfully sensitive Charlotte stretches her wings on a Latin American cruise where she finds love, almost too late, with unhappily married Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid). She leaves the cruise a stronger woman, but still has to face life with her mother, the woman who drove her to the brink of insanity once before.
Director: Irving Rapper
Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay: Casey Robinson
Based on the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty
Cinematography: Sol Polito
Editing: Warren Low
Art Direction: Robert Haas
Music: Max Steiner
Cast: Bette Davis (Charlotte Vale), Paul Henreid (Jerry D. Durrance), Claude Rains (Dr. Jaquith), Gladys Cooper (Mrs. Henry Windle Vale), Bonita Granville (June Vale), John Loder (Elliot Livingston), Ilka Chase (Lisa Vale), Lee Patrick ("Deb" McIntyre), Franklin Pangborn (Mr. Thompson), Janis Wilson (Tina Durrance), Mary Wickes (Dora Pickford), Charles Drake (Leslie Trotter), Reed Hadley (Henry Montague), Tempe Pigott (Mrs. Smith), Frank Puglia (Giuseppe), Georges Renavent (M. Henri), Ian Wolfe (Lloyd)
Why NOW, VOYAGER is Essential
Now, Voyager was Bette Davis' biggest box office hit of the '40s, marking the pinnacle of her career at Warner Bros. as a romantic leading lady.
The picture also marked the first of four collaborations between Davis and director Irving Rapper, who would reteam for The Corn Is Green (1945), Deception (1946) and Another Man's Poison (1951). Although not as much of an artistic influence on her as director William Wyler, Rapper played an important role in shaping her film career in the forties.
For many historians, Now, Voyager is the ultimate "women's picture" - a romance deftly constructed to delight female viewers by appealing to their romantic fantasies.
Others have pointed to the way Charlotte's growing independence paralleled the plight of American women during World War II, who were forced to draw on inner reserves to raise families and take on factory jobs vacated by men off serving in the military.
In recent years, feminist critics like Jeanne Allen, who edited the published screenplay, have praised Now, Voyager for its depiction of a woman's move into adulthood and independence.
Those factors have also made the film a favorite among gay audiences who feel an identification with both leads, the repressed Charlotte and Jerry, who is trapped in a loveless marriage.
Now, Voyager established Paul Henreid as a major romantic star and launched his association with Warner Bros., his home studio for most of the forties.
by Frank Miller
Now, Voyager (1942)
After Now, Voyager, Bette Davis received letters from fans of both genders who felt their possessive mothers had ruined their lives, much as Mrs. Vale nearly ruins Charlotte's life. She also got letters from mothers admitting they had been as bad as her mother in the film.
Warner Bros. reunited the stars (Davis, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains) and the director of Now, Voyager for Deception (1946), a melodrama set in the world of classical music. Although it lacked the impact of their first film together, it performed well at the box office.
For the rest of his career, Henreid's female fans would ask him to light their cigarettes as he had for Davis. When he directed her in Dead Ringer (1964), they re-staged the cigarette scene for publicity cameras. Years later, he used a photo of himself lighting two cigarettes at once on the cover of his memoirs, Ladies Man.
When she toured with clips from her movies in the '70s, Davis always had fans offering to light her cigarettes in imitation of Henreid during the question and answer sessions following the screening.
Now, Voyager is one of the films the characters watch at the local movie theatre in Summer of '42 (1971). Director Alan J. Pakula noted that the clip was often greeted with applause.
Take-offs on the cigarette-lighting scene turn up in Young Frankenstein (1974) and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997). In addition, two of the schoolboys in The History Boys (2006) act out the film's final scene for their classmates.
Charlotte Vale's youthful romantic tryst in a limousine on a ship's freight deck was echoed by the love scene between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic (1997).
On a 2004 episode of the British soap opera East Enders, one of the characters borrows Davis' closing line, "Don't ask for the moon. We have the stars."
by Frank Miller
Now, Voyager (1942)
Taglines for the film included: "Today Her Greatest! For a woman there's always an excuse..." and "I'm the maiden aunt. Every family has one."
Paul Henreid's agent advised him to turn down Now, Voyager because the part was too small. It was Henreid who saw the value of playing the role and working with Bette Davis.
While making the film, Davis and John Garfield were heavily involved in launching the Hollywood Canteen, a social club for servicemen stationed on the West Coast.
During location shooting at Lake Arrowhead, Janis Wilson would have drowned had Davis not come to her rescue. The film's star had once worked as a lifeguard.
Davis took a liking to Wilson and had her cast as her daughter in her next film, Watch on the Rhine (1943).
In interviews she gave when Now, Voyager came out, Davis said she was sure Charlotte and Jerry would get together some day. Years later, however, she would say that in her dream of the character's future, she would marry her psychiatrist (Claude Rains).
Production delays on Now, Voyager caused problems for producer Hal Wallis' next Warner Bros. film, Casablanca (1942). Both Paul Henreid and Claude Rains had been cast in the picture, which had to shoot around them until they became available.
In addition to "It Can't Be Wrong," the song Max Steiner wrote specifically for the film, the soundtrack also contains bits of Cole Porter's "Night and Day."
In South America, the film was called Tears of Long Ago.
Now, Voyager was Bette Davis' biggest hit at Warner Bros., posting a profit of $2.38 million.
Famous Quotes from NOW, VOYAGER
"Lisa tells me that your latest peculiarities, your fits of crying, your secretiveness, indicate that you're on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Is that what you're trying to achieve?" -- Gladys Cooper, as Mrs. Vale, scolding Bette Davis, as Charlotte Vale, for her mental condition.
"A whole secret life hidden up here behind a locked door." -- Davis, as Charlotte Vale, describing her life at the film's start.
"I thought that men didn't like girls who were prudes." -- Davis, as Charlotte, explaining a youthful indiscretion.
"What man would ever look at me and say, 'I want you?' I'm fat. My mother doesn't approve of dieting. Look at my shoes. My mother approves of sensible shoes. Look at the books on my shelves. My mother approves of good solid books. I'm my mother's well-loved daughter. I'm her companion. I am my mother's servant. My mother says! My mother. My mother! MY MOTHER!" -- Davis, breaking down in front of Claude Rains, as Dr. Jaquith.
"My dear Mrs. Vale, if you had deliberately and maliciously planned to destroy your daughter's life, you couldn't have done it more completely."
"How? By having exercised a mother's rights?"
"A mother's rights, twaddle. A child has rights, a person has rights, to discover her own mistakes, to make her own way, to grow and blossom in her own particular soil."
"Are we getting into botany, doctor? Are we flowers?"--Rains, as Dr. Jaquith, blaming Cooper, as Mrs. Vale, for her daughter's problems.
"Go on, torture me. Go on, torture me. You like making fun of me, don't you? You think it's fun making fun of me, don't you?" -- Davis, lashing out at Bonita Granville, as her niece, June Vale.
"No member of the Vale family has ever had a nervous breakdown."
"Well, there's one having one now." -- Cooper, being one-upped by Rains, as Jaquith.
"The oculist told you you don't need these any more."
"But I feel so undressed with them."
"It's good for you to feel that way."-- Rains, trying to get Davis to discard her glasses.
"If old Walt didn't have you in mind when he wrote this, he had lots of others like you. He's put into words what I'd like to say to you now -- and far better than I could ever express it. Read it."
"'Untold Want, By Life and Land Ne'er Granted, Now, Voyager, Sail Thou Forth to Seek and Find.'"--Rains, getting Davis to read the Walt Whitman poem that inspired the novel and film's title.
"Now, pull your own weight. I've taught you the technique, now use it. Forget you're a hidebound New Englander. Unbend, take part, contribute. Be interested in everything -- and everybody." -- Rains' advice to Davis before she boards the luxury liner.
"A spinster aunt is an ideal person to select presents for young girls." -- Davis, agreeing to help Henreid, as Jerry Durance, shop for his daughter.
"You were crying because you were being left alone. But today I made a discovery; all people are alone in some ways and some people are alone in all ways. Even after someone is grown up she can be alone." -- Henreid, as Jerry Durrance, writing a letter to his daughter.
"She considered herself a great martyr, and she's played the martyr ever since. That's her grasp on him -- her martyrdom -- and her jealously." -- Lee Patrick, as Deb McIntyre, explaining Henreid's wife's hold on him.
"We're either going to have to bundle or freeze tonight."
"They say that bundling is a New England custom both reverenced and honored."--Henreid and Davis, marooned on shore during a rain storm.
"If I were free, there would be only one thing I'd want to do -- prove you're not immune to happiness. Would you want me to prove it Charlotte? Tell me you would. Then I'll go. Why, darling, you are crying."
"I'm such a fool, such an old fool. These are only tears of gratitude -- an old maid's gratitude for the crumbs offered."
"Don't talk like that."
"You see, no one ever called me darling before." -- Henreid and Davis, sharing the only love scene the censors would allow.
"I don't want to be disagreeable or unkind. I've come home to live with you again here in the same house. But it can't be in the same way. I've been living my own life, making my own decisions for a long while now. It's impossible to go back to being treated like a child again. I don't think I'll do anything of importance that will displease you, but Mother, from now on, you must give me complete freedom, including deciding what I wear, where I sleep, what I read...Mother, please be fair and meet me halfway."
"They told me before you were born that my recompense to having a late child was the comfort the child would be to me in my old age, especially if she was a girl. And on your first day home after six month's absence, you behave like this." -- Davis and Cooper, quarrelling on the former's homecoming.
"Shall I tell you what you've given me? On that very first day, a little bottle of perfume made me feel important. You were my first friend. And then when you fell in love with me, I was so proud. And when I came home, I needed something to make me feel proud. And your camellias arrived, and I knew you were thinking about me. Oh, I could have walked into a den of lions. As a matter of fact, I did, and the lions didn't hurt me." -- Davis, explaining how Henreid's love has changed her.
"Let's not linger over it." -- Davis, breaking her engagement to John Loder, as Elliot Livingston.
"You've never done anything to make your mother proud, or to make yourself proud either. Why, I should think you'd be ashamed to be born and live all your life as Charlotte Vale. Miss Charlotte Vale."
"Dr. Jaquith says that tyranny is sometimes an expression of the maternal instinct. If that's a mother's love, I want no part of it. I didn't want to be born. You didn't want me to be born either. It's been a calamity on both sides." -- Cooper and Davis share their last bitter exchange.
"If you want people to like you, you've got to like people." -- Davis, counseling Janis Wilson, as Tina Durrance.
"Why are you so good to me?"
"Because somebody was good to me once when I needed somebody." -- Wilson, as Tina Durrance, and Davis, building their special bond.
"I can't go on forever taking, taking, taking from you and...and giving nothing, darling."
"Oh, I see. Forgive me, Jerry. It's your pride, isn't it? Let me explain. You will be giving. Don't you know that to take is sometimes a way to give -- the most beautiful way in the world if two people love each other. You'll be giving me Tina, every single day I'll be taking and you'll be giving." -- Henreid and Davis, re-united by her devotion to his daughter.
"Shall we have a cigarette on it?" -- Henreid.
"May I sometimes come here?"
"Whenever you like; it's your home, too. There are people here who love you."
"And look at you and Tina? Share with you peace and contentment?"
"Of course, and just think, it won't be for this time only. That is, if you will help me keep what we have, if we both try hard to protect that little strip of territory that's ours. We can talk about your child--"
"And will you be happy, Charlotte?"
"Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."--Henreid and Davis build a life together in their final scene.
Compiled by Frank Miller
Now, Voyager (1942)
THE BIG IDEA - The Origins of NOW, VOYAGER (1942)
Now, Voyager was the third novel in a tetralogy about the upper crust Vale family of Boston. Olive Higgins Prouty, also the author of the hit romance Stella Dallas (1925, 1937), had started the series in 1936. In the third novel, released in 1941, she followed the progress of the unattractive, neurotic Charlotte Vale, who blossoms under psychiatric care, goes through a diet and a major makeover, and falls in love on a European cruise. The psychiatric elements were drawn from Prouty's own life; following the death of her fourth child, she had suffered a nervous breakdown.
Prouty took her title from Walt Whitman's "The Untold Want" in Songs of Parting: "The Untold Want, By Life and Land Ne'er Granted,/Now, Voyager, Sail Thou Forth, to Seek and Find."
Former Warner Bros. production head Hal Wallis had just signed a contract to start his own production company at the studio. For his first independent production, he decided to bring Prouty's novel to the screen. He hoped the picture would contain the same elements of shipboard romance that had made Love Affair (1939), with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, such a box office hit.
Wallis paid Prouty $40,000 for the screen rights to her novel.
When the studio bought the film rights, Prouty sent them a lengthy letter suggesting how she thought the book should be filmed. Among other ideas, she thought the picture should be shot in Technicolor, with the flashbacks to Charlotte's first shipboard romance done as a silent film in black and white. Wallis did not follow her suggestions.
The first director assigned to Now, Voyager was Edmund Goulding. When he grew ill, the film was re-assigned to Michael Curtiz.
Originally, Wallis wanted to cast Irene Dunne in the lead to capitalize on her success in Love Affair. Then he learned Norma Shearer was interested. Both actresses had the same manager, however, and while he tried to balance their needs, Shearer lost interest, and Dunne moved on to another project. Wallis then considered casting Ginger Rogers, who had just won an Oscar® for another popular romantic drama, Kitty Foyle (1940).
Meanwhile, Bette Davis was on vacation in New Hampshire following a series of blow-ups with studio head Jack Warner. They had quarreled over her last completed picture, In This Our Life (1942), which she considered a travesty. Then he had tried to force her to leave the lot when she showed up at the start of her vacation for a pre-arranged publicity shoot. He was afraid she would charge him with overtime; she was insulted he would even have thought that. She slammed into his office, accused him of treating her like a chorus girl, then took off on vacation and refused to take his calls.
When Davis' friend at the studio, director Irving Rapper, told her that Warner Bros. had picked up the rights to Prouty's novel, she began lobbying for the role, arguing that as a native Bostonian she would understand the role much better than an actress not raised in New England. Warner, however, had feared that she wasn't attractive enough to make the character's transformation into a glamorous woman of the world believable. When Davis argued that casting a Hollywood beauty in the role would be ludicrous, and that her more modest appearance would appeal to women around the nation, Wallis saw that she was right and convinced Warner to give her the role.
When Wallis agreed to cast Davis, he also had to agree to re-assign Curtiz, whom Davis did not want to work with again. She lobbied for Rapper, a one-time dialogue director and assistant director at Warners' whom she had helped move into the director's chair. She had even done an unbilled cameo in his first film, Shining Victory (1941), to wish him luck.
Casey Robinson, who had also scripted Davis' Dark Victory (1939), was assigned to adapt the novel. Although Davis would later claim to have re-written the script and inserted dialogue from Prouty's novel, Robinson would vehemently deny that. His screenplay draws heavily on the novel for dialogue, particularly in the scenes between Charlotte and her mother. The major change he made was in moving Charlotte's first meeting with Jerry from the sanitarium, where he's recovering from his own breakdown in the novel, to the luxury liner.
Actors considered for the male lead included George Brent, Walter Pidgeon, Ronald Colman, Fredric March, Henry Fonda, Joel McCrea, Franchot Tone and Herbert Marshall.
For a while, Davis was interested in casting Ronald Reagan as Jerry, even though she had not been impressed by his work in Dark Victory. She was, however, moved by his performance in King's Row (1942) and, according to one studio acquaintance, may have had romantic designs on him. Warner, Wallis and Rapper convinced her that the young actor could not have held his own opposite her.
On the strength of his performance as an Allied soldier caught behind enemy lines in Night Train to Munich (1940), Paul Henreid won a screen test for the role. His European background probably helped, providing an echo of French leading man Charles Boyer in the popular Love Affair.
Davis wasn't pleased with the idea of a foreign-born co-star, particularly after seeing Henreid's test. In an effort to turn him into the new George Brent, the studio had greased down his hair, put him in a silk smoking jacket and piled on the pancake. When Henreid and Davis finally met, and he told her he had hated the test, she insisted he be tested again with a more natural look. Henreid won the role and won over his leading lady. Warners' signed him for the role at just over $4,000 a week.
Wallis wanted to cast Dame May Whitty as Charlotte's mother, but Rapper insisted he hire Gladys Cooper instead, even though she was too young for the role. Davis, who had seen Cooper on stage, was thrilled with the choice.
Rapper also insisted on casting Ilka Chase and Bonita Granville as Charlotte's sister-in-law and niece. When Wallis asked why, he said he thought they were the only actresses who would be believable tormenting Davis. Ironically, Davis would later say Granville was the only performer who was rude to her during the shooting.
Because of the war situation, Charlotte Vale's cruise had to be moved from the Mediterranean to South America, which gave the film added appeal in the Latin American market.
The Production Code Administration refused to approve any adaptation that clearly stated Charlotte and Jerry had an affair, since he was married. Their pristine love was one of the inspirations for Davis' final line, "Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." The moon they could never have was the dream of romance. The stars were their friendship and their devotion to Jerry's daughter, Tina.
After considering Raymond Massey and Charles Coburn, Wallis asked Claude Rains to play Dr. Jaquith. The actor turned him down until the role was expanded to give him more screen time and he was paid $4,000 a week for his work. Davis was thrilled, as he was one of her favorite co-stars.
Davis lobbied for Mary Anderson, one of the actresses discovered in the search for Scarlett O'Hara, to play the role of Jerry's troubled daughter Tina. Davis even tested with her, but the role was uncast when Now, Voyager went into production, eventually going to Janis Wilson.
Concerned that Davis had not looked her best in her last few films, Wallis insisted that Sol Polito, one of her favorite cameramen, be pulled off another film and assigned to Now, Voyager.
by Frank Miller
Now, Voyager (1942)
Now, Voyager went into production on April 7, 1942, with a budget of $761,000 and a 42 day shooting schedule.
Within three weeks, the film was six and a half days behind schedule. Among the problems were weather delays during location shooting at Laguna Beach, Bette Davis' illnesses and Gladys Cooper's problems remembering her lines (she was putting in long nights at the USO helping with the war effort). In addition, Davis worked very slowly, insisting on time to analyze every scene as it was shot.
On-set observers reported that Davis often seemed to be directing the film for Irving Rapper. Unlike others she had worked with, his approach to her was much more conciliatory. Rather than order her to play a scene a certain way, he would ask her to try his ideas to see if they would work for her.
To play Charlotte before her transformation, Davis asked costume designer Orry-Kelly to pad her figure to suggest extra weight, then she had makeup artist Perc Westmore give her thicker eyebrows. Her look in the film was a compromise. Originally she had wanted a more extreme look, but Wallis considered it too grotesque.
For the first scene after Charlotte's metamorphosis, Wallis asked Orry-Kelly to put her in a wide-brimmed hat so the audience wouldn't get a full look at her new face until later. He also wanted to maintain a sense of her shyness. Studio head Jack Warner objected to the choice, but Wallis ignored him.
There are several stories about the origin of the cigarette lighting ritual, in which Henreid lights two cigarettes at once then passes one to Davis. Director Irving Rapper claimed to have invented it based on a description in the novel. He said he had to come up with something to replace the clumsy description of the moment in the screenplay. Davis and Henreid said they came up with it based on the way he and his wife used to light cigarettes for each other during motor trips. Writer Casey Robinson said it had always been in his screenplay, which a perusal of the drafts on file corroborates. He didn't invent the routine, however, as it originated in a scene from one of Davis' first Warner Bros. pictures, The Rich Are Always With Us (1932), in a scene between Ruth Chatterton and George Brent.
Principal shooting on Now, Voyager finally ended on June 24, 15 days behind schedule. The final retakes were shot on July 3.
Although pleased with the film, Warner's brother Harry insisted that the scenes of Charlotte's Lake Arrowhead vacation with Tina be shortened.
Wallis also cut a scene in which Lisa (Ilka Chase) takes Charlotte to a beauty parlor before her ocean voyage, so that the audience first sees the transformed Davis at the same time as the ship's passengers. He also cut a silent dream sequence in which the young Charlotte dances with the ship's officer with whom she was once in love.
by Frank Miller
Now, Voyager (1942)
Warner Bros. star Bette Davis, who commanded the female audience of the 1940's like no other star, had her biggest hit of the decade in Now, Voyager (1942), the romantic drama of Charlotte Vale, a repressed, overweight spinster who escapes from the influence of a domineering mother to become a glamorous woman of the world.
Oddly, it took Warner Bros. a while to settle on Davis - then the acknowledged "Queen of the Lot" - as star of the property, based on the 1941 novel by Olive Higgins Prouty, who also wrote Stella Dallas. (Prouty took the title Now, Voyager from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass: "Untold Want, by life and land ne'er granted/Now, Voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find.") The first choice of producer Hal B. Wallis to play Charlotte was Irene Dunne, then Norma Shearer (as a loan-out from MGM), then Ginger Rogers. But once Davis became aware of the role - realizing that Charlotte was, like herself, a New Englander and a plain woman who could transform herself into something much more attractive - she saw to it that it was hers.
Over the years, there was controversy over who created one of the most celebrated bits of business in film history - the cigarette ritual performed by Paul Henreid as Jerry, the married man with whom Charlotte falls in love. Henreid puts two cigarettes in his mouth, lights both, then passes one seductively to Davis. The two actors, who became instant and lifelong friends, claimed that they worked the routine out during rehearsals, inspired by a habit Henreid shared with his wife on car trips. But screenwriter Casey Robinson said he had included the business in his original script - something borne out by drafts of his script on file with the Warner Bros. papers at the University of Southern California.
In Charlotte's gentle admonition to her lover, Now, Voyager also boasts one of the most famous closing lines in all cinema: "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."
Director: Irving Rapper
Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay: Casey Robinson, from novel by Olive Higgins Prouty
Art Direction: Robert M. Haas
Costume Design: Orry-Kelly
Cinematography: Sol Polito
Editing: Warren Low
Original Music: Max Steiner
Principal Cast: Bette Davis (Charlotte Vale), Paul Henreid (Jerry Durrance), Claude Rains (Dr. Jaquith), Gladys Cooper (Mrs. Henry Windle Vale), Bonita Granville (June Vale), John Loder (Elliot Livingston), Ilka Chase (Lisa Vale), Lee Patrick ("Deb" McIntyre), Franklin Pangborn (Mr. Thompson).
BW-118m. Close captioning. Descriptive video.
by Roger Fristoe
Now, Voyager (1942)
AWARDS & HONORS
Bette Davis won her fifth Best Actress Oscar® nomination in a row for Now, Voyager, a record for consecutive nominations only matched by Greer Garson.
Now, Voyager also received Academy Award nominations for Gladys Cooper for Best Supporting Actress and Max Steiner for his score.
On Oscar® night the big winner was Mrs. Miniver, which won Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Cinematography. Garson beat Davis for Best Actress, while Teresa Wright bested Cooper in the supporting category.
Now, Voyager was voted a place on the National Film Registry in 2007.
THE CRITICS' CORNER - NOW, VOYAGER (1942)
"Bette Davis is a perfect choice for the role of a neurotic, unwanted daughter of an aged mother, turning in a moving performance filled with warmth and color to catch audience sympathy. Irving Rapper again marks himself as a director with an understanding for searching, human drama, capturing the sweep of emotion that distinguished the Olive Higgins Prouty novel. Casey Robinson displays his craftsmanship in the screen adaptation for another of his top writing jobs."
"Although it carries a professional bedside manner, Now, Voyager, Bette Davis's latest tribulation at the Hollywood, contains not a little quackery. For two hours of heartache and repeated renunciation, Miss Davis lays bare the morbidities of a repressed ugly duckling who finally finds herself as a complete woman. From the original novel, Casey Robinson has created a deliberate and workmanlike script which more than once reaches into troubled emotions. Director Irving Rapper has screened it with frequent effectiveness. But "Now, Voyager," either because of the Hays Office or its own spurious logic, endlessly complicates an essentially simple theme. For all its emotional hair-splitting, it fails to resolve its problems as truthfully as it pretends. In fact, a little more truth would have made the film a good deal shorter."
- The New York Times.
"The story is more sentimental than the true psychological study it might have been. But Miss Davis is always interesting to watch and the role affords her many opportunities for fine acting. She makes the film worthwhile artistically, and gives it a dignity not fully warranted by the script."
- The National Board of Review magazine
"Paul Henreid achieves his full stature as a romantic star." -- New York Herald Tribune
"The score, by Max Steiner, aims right for the jugular; the director, Irving Rapper, is just barely competent, and the action plods along, yet this picture is all of a piece, and if it were better it might not work at all."
- Pauline Kael, 5,001 Nights at the Movies.
"Davis, impeccable as usual, turns the sow's ear of Hollywood's notion of a repressed spinster (remove the glasses and lo! a beauty) into something like a silk purse. Great stuff....The women's weepie angle gets to be a bit of a slog later on, but it is all wrapped up as a mesmerically glittering package by Rapper's direction, Sol Polito's camerawork, and Max Steiner's lushly romantic score."
- Tim Milne, TimeOut Film Guide
"With its bittersweet romance and air of tragic empowerment, Now, Voyager represents the pinnacle of the woman's picture."
- Donna Bowman, The Onion A.V. Club
" This film takes the ugly duckling turning into a swan scenario to melodramatic heights one has to see to believe...Considering the material, Davis gives a convincing and controlled turn as a subdued and shattered soul who finally finds her voice. Her relationship with Cooper, who plays one of the meanest mothers I've ever seen onscreen, is layered and complex, giving the film emotional depth and dynamic energy."
- Crazy for Cinema, crazy4cinema.com/Review/FilmsN/f_now_voyager.html
Compiled by Frank Miller