- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
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Bette and Max Steiner
- Jery Tillotson
Bette Davis said in an interview with Dick Cavett: "Max (Steiner) knew more about making movies than anyone in Hollywood." Max Steiner then said in an interview before he died that he was happy that new generations of movie fans were discovering his work via Bette Davis string of classics that he composed the scores for. He said that when he watched her extraordinary performances, he was inspired to try and enhance her genius with outstanding music. You certainly see every sign of this in Steiner's powerful Oscar-winning score for "Now, Voyager." From the dramatic opening notes over the credits to the final shimmering violins in the final scene, his music imbues Bette's scenes with a near mystical magic that underscores her actions and feelings. As we Davis buffs know now, Bette had to battle Jack Warner for her best roles. Warner had originally offered the role of Charlotte Vale to Irene Dunne who turned it down. Then the role was offered to other female stars who also turned it down. Bette battled to do the role and--thank the Lord--she won out. With her now in the picture, Jack Warner poured the top resources into the production with producer Hal Wallis surrounding the great star with Hollywood's greatest character actors, with the great Sol Polito photographing Bette in shimmering beauty. The outstanding set designs and d�cor, the lighting, the many changes of sets, the shooting on location for the foreign backdrops, and again, Max Steiner's most powerful musical compositions, all contributed to making Now Voyager one of the studio's top productions of the year. The late Janis Wilson, who played the neurotic Tina, remembers dashing next door to the adjoining sound stage to watch the filming of "Casablanca," which was being filmed concurrently. Sometimes she was accompanied by Claude Rains and Paul Hendreid who had starring parts in this movie classic. Just imagine the incredible synergy of two movie classics being filmed at the same.
Now Voyager, a Classic
- Carl Spiegel
Fabulous. This picture has been criticized as two lachrymose hours that goes nowhere. Not true. Love is love (despite the un "hollywood" ending), as real as the stars.
- Dashiell B.
One of the best women's pictures ever made, with a minimum requirement of one box of tissues. Davis earned a Best Actress nomination as a frumpish woman who transforms herself away her selfish mother, Cooper, in an Oscar-nominated performance; great work from males Henreid & Rains. Oscar-winning score is a audio delight in an unapologetically emotional story. A perfectly romantic movie. I give it a 4.5/5.
Classic Bette Davis, Classic Love Story for all
Even today, this story will capture your heart even if you don't have a romantic bone in your body. If you need more of a reason, the Bette Davis' performance should be enough. A sheer classic for Davis fans, as well as fans of Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains.
Now Voyager, One of the greats
WOW!!!! I never get tired of watching this movie, and believe me, I'm not easy to please. As my husband will tell you I am a terrible critic and can tear apart a weak movie in about 1.5 minutes. Now voyager has it all, a great plot, two people with the will and courage to do the right thing, love, romance, adventure, passion, incredible/unforgettable quotes and who can forget the wonderful birth of the two-cigarette tradition......Paul Henreid, what a heart throb!!! The transformation of Charlotte is just without a doubt breathtaking.....what we all wish we could do with the parts of ourselves that we dislike, the strength of character in this particular character is nothing short of amazing.....a true fantasy flick!!! With this movie can we really ask anymore....after all why should we "ask for the moon when we have the stars?" One of the great classics of all time in my opinion and yes I am a die hard Bette Davis fan, without a doubt this is my fave oif her movies. Thanks TCM!!!!
I just love the movie and sort of dream that Jerry and Charlotte get married and live happy ever after, with Tina of course!
I'm a huge, huge Bette Davis fan and I had this movie at the top of my list of "Movies to see" for months. Finally saw it and fell in love. After you've seen this film, you will never be able to look at a cigarette again without thinking of Paul Henreid lighting two - one for himself and one for her - every single time. As usual, Davis' performance is off the charts. Definitely worth seeing!
One summer day I was scanning channels and stopped at TCM since I saw a movie about to begin. It turned out that it was this particular movie. At first I wasn't too crazy about it being black and white as I was accustomed to the colorful movies of nowadays. Yet, as I kept watching I saw that I actually believed the actors unlike most of the modern movies I was watching at the time. In the beginning, I felt really bad for Charlotte because she seemed so unhappy. When she fell in love, I felt like she was finally going to be able to completely get over her mother's oppressing ways. Honestly, this is probably the best movie for me to begin watching classic movies. I am supremely happy that fate had this be the first classic movie because it is filled with people who can actually act. The only thing that was a little difficult for me personally to get over was what happens to poor Charlotte when she has her nervous breakdown. I just never really knew someone could just well breakdown like that and their family would send them somewhere else to get better.
Everyone should watch Bette Davis, Paul Henreid & Claude Rains work their magic! Now Voyager is one of the best movies that has ever been made. Hollywood doesn't make movies like Now Voyager anymore!!!
This movie saved my life! I can say this is the best picture I have ever seen. You can relate in so many different ways! This is by far Bette's best movie. I would have liked to meet her before she passed.
- Derrick T. Ivory
This film is a masterpiece of american cimema, with a superb cast that makes watching it a soulful delight. The acting in this film is the very essence of Hollywood in it,s day. You can never go wrong with Betty Davis. Claude Rains, Paul Henreid on your set. Their are many Charlotte Vale,s in this world, being dominated by a parent or spouse, this film let,s you know that life is sweet. You don,t have to live your life under a microscope. In the scene when Betty Davis aka charlotte vale steps off the boat,you see the metamorphosis effect it had on her family who were waiting for the old charlotte,but was shocked to see a new person. Paul Henried, Claude Rains can play any part just watch their work if your LUCKY and you will see a real THESPIAN at work.
What a Delight to Watch Bette Davis
She's gorgeous, exacting as a actor, meticulous with her diction & the First Lady of American Cinema. No movie reveals why to me more than this one has. Bette Davis was and still is a great American patriot and treasure. This film was the kind of distraction that a war ravaged, spiritually wounded & shell shocked public needed to sooth itself while the Nazi movement was spreading its toxins all the way to Pearl Harbor with the Japanese and Italian Axis. What is here in a classic film is very intense emotion that has nothing to do at all with the topic of war. One woman's survival over a tyrannical mother could come to symbolize an entire movement of Allies defeating fascism. A love story that refuses to become immoral is so powerful that it leaves a lasting impression of what one pair of lovers have the power to do to keep love alive through a child without betraying sacred vows. Fabulous classic thanks to Bette Davis.
When the Stars Were Bigger than the Moon
Anyone who is saavy about Bette Davis & Claude Rains classics does not have to be told the last line Davis delivers in this film (it is in the quotes section). Charlotte (Davis) is telling Jerry (Henreid) not to ask for the moon when they have the stars [scan to the stars, cut, print it]. End of film. Breathless, I've just watched Bette Davis looking absolutely gorgeous playing a modern woman who will not be domineered after years of being squashed parentally. The script and storyline are pure as 24KT gold. Even so, it is the acting of every single cast member, led by Bette Davis, that makes this film most likely to be the one or among the top few on a short list of her greatest peformances. Bette Davis had all the right body part in all the right places to be a knock out. That she chose not to use her body and beauty to make her acting career is why it lasted until she died. Davis, Rains, Henreid & Cooper are the stars who were bigger than Jerry's moon.
Convinced: Bette Davis' Greatest Film
There is hardly a way to describe all I felt during and after I watched this movie. This is one of the greatest films I have EVER watched. Each actor gets the emotional parts of their characters right on the money and could have easily underplayed or overplayed them there was so much emotion going on. But Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Paul Hendreid and Gladys Cooper take the main prizes for their astonishing performances. This is classic film at its apex. There is no better filmmaking than this.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
BRAVO!!!! My sentiments exactly to what was said by Kathy and 1899bogie1957. I simply love Bette Davis, Claude Rains, and Paul Henreid. I have lost track of how many times I have seen this film and how many more times I will continue to see it. Please don't leave out her films The Little Foxes and The Letter. FANTASTIC!!!! Keep it up TCM.
I own this film on DVD. This is one of my most favorite films. Finally acted by both Bette Davis and Claude Rains; it is a spectacular film. I have watched it so many times I have lost count.It always entertains and satifies me. It is one of both of their bests in my opinion. It has a marvelous supporting cast. Gladys Cooper and Mary Wikes are wonderful in this film. It is a must see.
Time Does Tell: The Stature of this Film
Sixty-seven years have passed since this film grew from a typical Bette Davis film to what the public apparently considers is one of Davis' favorite classics. In it, Bette Davis plays both a frumpy, domineered daughter of a uppity mother (Gladys Cooper) and the gorgeous woman a psychiatrist (Claude Rains) and a man who loves her (Paul Henreid) transform. Apparently many more people than me could then & still can now relate to Charlotte VAle (Bette Davis). This Charlotte is one of the greatest characters that Bette Davis incarnates. If there's only one Bette Davis film you want to see, this one is it.
A Film's Historic Contexts: WWII
"Now, Voyager," doesn't even mention a word about a world war raging even though this film was released in the height of WWII. The storyline is about a wealthy Bostonian family with a daughter who's been mother smothered. It's about her change after being treated by a renouned psychiatrist. And it is also about one of the most divine on screen romances of all time. There is a definite sense of morality that is threaded throughout this film. Why does it focus on a pleasure cruise? Children who are unwanted by their well to do mothers? Or a classic magificent love story? Perhaps this was the kind of distraction, the kind of intensely acted film that a war ravaged public needed during WWII. But now, this film is enjoying more popularity than ever. Why? Do we too need a similar kind of distraction? I believe we do. We want to be taken away from what's happening every day and dwell for a while on triumphs of the human spirit.
Smoking as a Metaphor for "Making Love"
First, let me explain that in the 1940's, when classic films like this were made, the term 'making love' didn't refer to a sex act as it does now. Instead, it meant being romantic in demonstrative ways that were likely to be public. Paul Henreid as Jerry, lighting 2 cigarettes so that he could hand 1 to Bette Davis as Charlotte, was a way of metaphorically making love to her. Their puffs of blown smoke merging mid-air were as close as they could get to each other towards the end of this film. Not doing the forbidden while their romance was so strong packs a sensuous punch that lingers a long time. What makes this film so exquisite is the morality that Charlotte and Jerry try so mightily to revere. Consider how rare restraint & respect are in contrast to becoming outright adulterous. I'm not advocating for smoking; but, in this film, it really is a way 2 people make up for being forbidden to touch.
On Professionalism & Egocentricity
Among my favorite qualities of films made by Bette Davis is her obvious input. There were scenes she refused to play & lines she wouldn't say, no matter the pay. When women stood up to the male-powers-over that be, they weren't called attractive names. But, over the years, after her viewpoints about filmmaking proved to be right, proved to make ordinary films into classics, proved to receive droves of awards and nominations for them, proved to sell & sell & sell and still sell to date (!), the professionalism of Bette Davis as a filmmaker became unquestionable. This shows more during this film that any other I've watched. Critics said she acted with lame actors who she could manipulate. Bunk. Claude Rains was a match for any actor on stage or in films. Paul Henreid was a brilliant actor & became a director. For heaven's sake, Gladys Cooper, a lame actor? She was the toast of the UK actors and quite a formiddable opponent as the matriarch of the Vale family. This is the greatest film I've ever seen: thanks to Bette Davis being the least ego-centric actor.
Rethinking My Choice
Having just watched this magnificent Bette Davis classic for the umteenth time, I am sorely tempted to claim that it's my favorite. But you know, that's subject to change depending upon which one of Bette Davis' classics I'm watching. There's a darned strong reason why I could select this of all Bette Davis' classics as her best: the uniqueness of this particular performance. As Charlotte Vale, Davis had to portray so many different aspects of one woman as she went through a myriad of changes. Each part of Charlotte Vale is one that Bette Davis plays seamlessly & as if she could remain in character no matter how many times that character put on some other side of herself. After all, doing so proves to be what Davis is the expert actor at for the rest of her career & hence, her life.
G L A D Y S C O O P E R ! !
- Jack The Hat
I have meet a lot of Gladys Cooper characters in my life, mostly Catholic nuns. This woman probably was the geatest character actor who ever lived---forget Bette Davis, watch Gladys Cooper.
When Davis Was Good She Was Very Very Good
As Charlotte Vale, Bette Davis takes a break from a rash of Oscar nominated lead roles playing the bad gal. Charlotte is the so called 'spinster' youngest daughter of a tyrannical mother (Gladys Cooper) who's made to live as a frump. When Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains) uses psychiatric care to help Charlotte free herself from her mother's iron fist, she winds up on a pleasure cruise. That's when she steps forth for the first time as the woman who's been dramatically changed. Davis is drop dead gorgeous as the voyager. On her journey, she meets Jerry Darrace (Paul Henreid) and from that point onward one of the most celebrated romance classics becomes breathtakingly beautiful. There is no other film quite like "Now, Voyager." Davis reveals herself for the first time, after years of acting, as a woman of extraordinary beauty. More than here eyes are expressing sensuality! Henreid becomes one of the most debonaire, upstandingly moral lovers of all time. It's one of the most rapidly moving romances with a myriad of twists and turns that make it intriguing to the hilt. No matter how many times I've watched the ending scenes they still take my breath. Davis takes me by surprise as a stunning beauty. To believe it, it has to be experienced first hand.
A Fine Romance
I consider this film to be the most well made romance of the 20th century. It can't be seen too many times. The versatility of Bette Davis performance within the film is amazing.Since her character goes through so many life changes, the actor has to make those changes effectively. No small feat in this film. Paul Henreid's performance is so romantic. Claude Rains' is so solid that he's the stablizer in the film. Gladys Cooper plays the meanest mother who is detestable, so she also turns in a superb performance. The rest of the supporting actors play their characters so well that this film is an all time classic romance.
Vale, this time. Charlotte Vale played by Bette Davis is one of the Golden Era's great triumphs. Mrs. Vale (the venerable Gladys Cooper) has nearly destroyed her youngest, late in life born daughter by smothering her. Enter Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains) to Charlotte's rescue when she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown. His treatment has the effect on her of being transformative. Her older sister and the good psychiatrist come up with a plan to free Charlotte of her former introverted self. She goes on a cruise and meets the love of her life, Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid). Problem is he's unhappily married. The platonic lovers agree to never see each other after their trip. But, they meet again by chance. After Mrs. Vale dies during a struggle with Charlotte, she blames herself and heads back to Dr. Jaquith. There she finds Jerry's late in life, mother-shunned child, Tina. Instead of bottoming out, she takes her true love's child under her wing and back to the huge estate she inherited when Mrs. Vale died. Through the love they have for Tina, Charlotte and Jerry's love prevails even though they will lead separate lives except for when he's visiting Tina. It's the finest romance I've ever seen. Davis comes out as a raving beauty and with another Oscar nomination.
This is a Bette Davis classis that most view as her appearance as a beauty. That is the point of the film's plot. An unmarried, mother-battered woman of wealth has been smothered to the brink of a nervous breakdown. Her younger sister sends for a renouned psychiatrist who takes her into his retreat for treatment, then releases her to try out her new found self-confidence on a cruise ship. While asail, she meets a married man with whom she develops a mutual, rare love of a lifetime. They agree to part because he has a marriage commitment to honor. She returns to the misery of home with mother as he returns to the misery of home with a manipulative, controlling wife. After her mother dies and she blames herself, she heads back to the psychiatric retreat. There she meets her true love's daughter who's so much like she used to be. Recognizing that the child is his, she immediately takes an interest in her as no one else could. They've too much in common, including a deep love for the same man: the child's father. The child brings the true lovers together, presumably at a respectable distance, but for life as they co-parent the child. It's one of the most decent, romantic, dynamic films imaginable. Davis and Henreid make a fabulous match. Rains is perfectly cast as the shrink. Gladys Cooper is too as the mother who makes herself easy to hate. Davis let's the world see just how beautiful she could be when her role called for it and still stuns viewers.
"Now, Voyager's" the 1st Bette Davis film I ever saw. She is sooo beautiful! What great acting to go from 1 kind of oppressed spinster to an independent-minded, desirable, and self-assured woman. Paul Henreid as Jerry Durrance to Bette Davis' Charlotte Vale are one way romantic pair. Gladys Cooper makes the perfect hateful mother. How her words haunt Charlotte shows how good the script is. How Dr. Jaquith's words displace Mrs. Vale's also shows how good the script is. Nothing's like the script at the end and how Bette Davis acts out and speaks the most memorable romantic line. I think I'll always remember this film as "WOW, Voyager!"
The Face of Woman in Action
- Jon Bern
When Bette Davis was a child her face was badly burned. Her mother "greased" it for 4 weeks, night & day, non-stop. The face of Charlotte Vale wouldn't have been so flawlessly beautiful when she 1st stepped out. I'm aware of Joan Crawford's rivalrous groupees spewing all over this website that Miss Davis was ugly, pop-eyed, looked like Peter Lorre, and more obnoxia by the clueless who can't recognize beauty when it's flashed before their eyes & souls. The kind of beauty Charlotte Vale has is similar to the kind of beauty Bette Davis had: "Morality to me is honesty, integrity, character. Old-fashioned words straight from Emerson, Thoreau, my grandmother. There are new words that excuse everyone. Give mew the good old days of heroes and villains. The people you can bravo or hiss. There was a truth to them that all the slick credulity of today cannot touch....The cornerstone of my career in films was the power for action with which all women identified. When I portrayed evil on the screen, the women of the world were purged of suppressed violence and sheer boredom" (Davis, 1962 p14).
Fourth Review Questioning the AFI
"Now, Voyager" film clips brought down the house of Hollywood's most elite during the 1977 presentation of the AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award to the first woman: Bette Davis. This film was only nominated for 3 Oscars. One of them was for Bette Davis' seminal performance. Again, with this being a major Bette Davis classic, even back in 1977, the AFI loused up again and did not award Bette Davis for her unforgettable romantic performance. This gives reason for pause to reflect upon the AFI's record of identifying and awarding classic performances.
Classic Knockout Bette Davis Fare
It's all be written and said about how gorgeous Bette Davis is in this film. What surprises me is that it took nearly a score for modern reviewers to recognize her beauty (not that being a beauty is essential to being a great actor whatsoever). Bette Davis is two Charlotte Vales in this film. The first one to appear is padded and made up to look frumpy. Bette Davis gives an expert performance to pull off being that 'Aunt Charlotte' who's interacting with the great Gladys Cooper (her mother) and one of Britain's finest actor's, Claude Rains. The second Charlotte Vale is transformed through psychiatric intervention by Dr. Jaquith (Rains) with plenty of help from her younger sister. The second Miss Vale becomes Paul Henried's (Jerry) forbidden love interest. He's terminally married. Charlotte becomes an amazing woman of wealth whose generousity with more than money is heroic at the same time that it is deeply romantic. Davis and Henried act out the best romance I've ever seen.
"Hello Gorgeous!" (quoting Streisand)
Anyone who is well educated in film studies knows that Bette Davis was deliberately down playing her sexual appeal in order to become known as a serious character actor (instead of a floozy). That is, until "Now, Voyager." Some may ask, why did Miss Davis reveal her well kept secret beauty in this film in 1942? The answer is simple: Bette Davis had already arrived, had already become the biggest box office success of Hollywood, had already established herself as the most renouned actor on the continent. By this time, she could 'come out' as a sensuous, romantic screen sirene. I doubt that a soul who has watched the entrance of the transformed Charlotte Vale will even forget what they felt the moment they saw her totally decked out and looking oh so divine. Davis could put on the attitude to go with that picture. She could make audiences believe she was the most desirable woman alive...when the character she was playing called for it. That is what Bette Davis' art perfected: becoming the visions, attitudes, and gestures that her character required. Nobody, but nobody has ever done that better.
Drop My Mouth One Time, Miss Davis
This film's the one when Bette Davis lets her private sensuality show in a public film. She'd kept her roles to the best scripts she could find up to this point. With "Now, Voyager," she landed a great script, unreal cast to work with, the best music score, and she could be the kind of character that was sensuous and amorous. When Miss Davis turned that part of her self on, she sizzled. This is a steaming romance and the best part about it is that there's nothing scandalous or blantantly sexual going on in the film at any time. Her practice was enacting the art of sensuality to her utmost degree for this part. It is sumptuous.
A Classic Classic of Classics
Consider the cast first: Bette Davis and Paul Henried as the romantic leads. Claude Rains plays an instrumental role as a psychiatrist. Gladys Cooper's an oppressive mother. Consider the plot: an unmarried mother smothered young woman's about to have a nervous breakdown when her sister summons a psychiatrist to assess her condition. After determining she needs treatment at his posh retreat and she completes therapy with him, he and her sister conspire to send her on a sea cruise far away from her mother at home. There she meets a travler who's looking for a tour guide and she agrees to go with him. During their time together, they fall madly in love, knowing he's married. When they depart, they agree to never see each other again. Consider the characters: Bette Davis immortalizes Charlotte Vale, who transforms from an oppressed daughter to a gorgeous worldly woman with the help of Dr. Jacquith (Rains). Henried is Jerry, the debonair man who befriends her on board ship, then remains in her life symbolically as a daily flower he sends. Because of his support and love, combined with Dr. Jacquith's, Charlotte becomes an independent woman. When Jerry's child comes into her life, she brings them back together in a most unusual but uniquely romantic way that's awe-inspiiring. Max Steiner's score's a stunner. Davis is never more sensual.
Another Oscar Nominated Performance
That nominee is Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale. Time has been very generous to "Now, Voyager." This Bette Davis romantic classic is now considered her best romantic performance. With the UK's master actor, Claude Rains playing kindly scene to scene with Davis, the UK's long time legend, Gladys Cooper, being tyrannical scene to scene with Davis, the debonair Paul Henried as Jerry, Charlotte's unrequieted love of a lifetime, going scene to scene with Davis in the most senusous of styles, they all prove to be phenomenal. Bette Davis is breath-takingly beautiful as she lets her real all hang out. That she didn't use her incredible sensual beauty, and after seeing her in this film, she clearly could have, is a credit to her determination to be known as a serious actor--forget the ess of actress.
Davis' master class on romantic acting
If ever a fool says Bette Davis wasn't attractive, make 'em pay for it by watching "Now, Voyager." As Charlotte Hollis (Jerry's [Henried's] 'Camille') Bette Davis is revealed to be a breath-taking beauty from: waistline, hips, ankles, calves, hands and vocal features that are absolutely alluring, to her meticulous mannerisms and adroit acting techniques. "Now, Voyager" is the US' renowned romantic drama of the 20th century, with Bette Davis and Paul Henried scorching the screen. Contrasted with the UK's superb supporting stars' different kind of 'love' (Claude Rains' clinical care and Gladys Cooper's tyrannical mothering), the romantic aspect of this film is punctuated.
Mixed smoke metaphor for making love
This film is the top romance of the golden era. The reason is how Paul Henried and Bette Davis 'made love' by blowing cigarette smoke each other's way so that it mixed midair. It's sensuously loaded with eroticism. Yet, during such scenes they don't touch each other. It takes superior acting skill to create a suggestive effect. The ways their eyes gaze into each other's; how head over heels in-love their faces appear; the tones of voice they use speaking to each other; how they position their bodies. In short, Davis and Henried perfect the fine art of creating covert erotica. Davis is unforgettably ravishing.
Hooked on Classics & TCM by Bette Davis
"Now Voyager" is the third Bette Davis film I've ever seen. Now I'm really pissed off because I was misled all of these years to believe that first, Bette Davis wasn't attractive: FALSE! Whoa, she's so drop dead gorgeous as Charlotte Vale my husband's eyes bulged gazing at her. Second, that she was only great playing women who were monsters: FALSE! What's not to love about Miss Vale? This is a truly classic film. Hopefully TCM is going to show more of Bette Davis' films. They leave me nearly speechless.
Thank you for smoking
Thank you, Paul Henreid for coming up with the sexiest cigarette exchange there is. Thank you Bette Davis for looking stunning in black and white clothing. Thank you academy of motion picture arts and sciences for nominating Now Voyager.
A Fine Romance
Interesting that when this film was released WWII was raging, yet there's no mention of it here. Maybe that's just what audiences needed. This is a highly dramatic romance with huge performances by a top drawer leading cast. Claude Rains. Gladys Cooper. Paul Henried. All leading actors who make a circle around Bette Davis' astonishing performance. The script is immaculate. Musical score luscious. Settings among the most engaging since they move around lots. Frankly, though, Bette Davis pours her whole self, drawing on such a wide variety of emotions, into this film, and that's what makes is GREAT.
The 34yo Knock Out
Bette Davis was remarkably restrained whenever a moment or character called for it. Assuming the appearance of Charlotte Vale after being freed of her mother's (Gladys Cooper) tyranny by Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains), we're finally given a grand gander at the feminine features of the already acclaimed actor. Strategically withheld so her acting would be taken seriously, instead of her body parts, her coming out moment's breathtaking. We're taken inside of tourist Jerry Derrance's (Paul Henried) feelings at the moment of being attracted to her. Davis could've shown herself any time or place before that scene & didn't, prefering the art of seduction: leaving us wanting more.
A Sequel Would've Scored Big for Warners
When asked by Dick Cavett, Bette Davis said that she believed "Now, Voyager" could've had a successful sequel. I agree. This film has it all. Davis doing a classic transformation; Rains playing a classic authority figure; Henried being a romantic 'foreign' lover; Cooper incarnating antiquated arrogance & superiority. The film's setting switch so often. The music score sets the moods, most especially for the deepest screen romance I'll remember. Davis' makeup & costumes accentuate everything she's got & how! Davis said in a sequel she'd become Dr. Jaquith's assistant. Good choice, Rains, that is.
"...let's don't ask for the moon."
In this Bette Davis classic, she's paired with Paul Henried in the romance that leaves audience's speechless. What's more, when Dr. Jacquith's (Claude Rains) healing patient, Charlotte Vale appears on a cruise ship, Bette Davis finally reveals that she's got all it takes to be drop dead gorgeous. Had she done so earlier in her acting career she might have been taken far less seriously as a dramatic actor. The precendent this film sets is unleashing the sensuality of at mega-actor who's not known for playing sensuously appealing roles. Davis'coming out exemplifies how much of herself she could withhold for a role.
Greatest Love Story Ever Told
Bette Davis, Paul Henried, Claude Rains and Gladys Cooper pool their acting skills together to create the finest romance I've ever seen on film. Watching Charlotte (Davis) change from her mother's (Cooper) cow-tailed introvert to Dr. Jacquith's (Rains) and Jerry's (Henried) social butterfly is the most memorable on-screen transformation. I'm crazy for this film because of the complex beauty of the love story. It teaches that even the truest kind of love isn't idealic, perfect, or absolute happiness. Sometimes we have to accept situations as they are, graciously.
Count as Davis' Classic Performances
As Charlotte Vale, Bette davis has hit her acting stride. With Claude Rains as Dr. Jacquith, her guide, and Paul Henried, as Jerry, her forbidden romantic partner of a lifetime, Davis transcends from a (s)mothered unwanted daughter on strings to a ravishing beauty. Jacquith's clinical influence over Vale is as empowering as Jerry's romantic one. Bette Davis had features to expose in such ways to become vulptuous. That she chose not to use them was so she would be taken seriously as an actor and to insure her acting skills qualified her for parts.
Be(com)ing a character, looking the part
Bette Davis didn't base her acting career upon feminine beauty. Quite the contrary. At this film's premiere, Davis' acting career was soaring. She'd played a myriad of homely women. With Dr. Jacquith's (Claude Rains) help to transform, Davis deploys previously well hidden, beautiful physical features to emerge from being a frumpy domineered daughter to a knock-out worldly woman. When Charlotte Vale first appears, so does femme fatal Bette Davis. The romance between Jerry (Paul Henried) and she is the classic of romantic classics. A Davis, Rains, Cooper, Henried classic.
Greatest Transformation & Romance
In a sense, Bette Davis plays quite a few roles that are Shakespearean: a woman transforms herself to become more powerful, to get her man, or over-power a domineering parent. Davis accomplishes all three! As Charlotte, Davis starts out as a mother-smothered daughter on the verge of a breakdown. Claude Rains as Dr. Jacquith is the psychiatrist who leads her to a "green world" (like where Shakespeare's players go) in order to change. Whoa, what a transformation. Davis becomes stunningly sumptuous; irresistibly so: much to her mother's chagrin & lover's (Henried) delight.
One of Bette Davis' Classics
Whenever I played this VHS for people who've never seen it before, they are amazed by several aspects of the movie. They didn't realize Bette Davis could be so lovely and sexy. They'd never heard of the movie. Everyone leaves my home saying it's the best movie they've ever seen. Since I watch lots of movies with quite a few friends that's a big compliment. When I ask the ones who've seen it once before what movie they want to watch, inevitably they'll choose "Now, Voyager." It still leaves me feeling breath-taken.
Writing as a scholar in film criticism, I've no reticense naming this performance by Bette Davis her finest. That's a bold stance, since Davis was nominated 5 years in a row & for 11 Best Actress Oscars; & didn't win for portraying Miss Vale. Vale's a frumpy woman who's transformed from a mother-smothered aunt to a raving beauty who's the toast of society; then, falls madly in love. The romance is brilliantly played by Davis & Henreid & immortal. Davis chose not to use her staggering beauty, prefering more challenging appearances.
I'm convinced, no matter what critics & awared committees claim, that "Now, Voyager" with Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains & Gladys Cooper is the best of all Bette Davis' films. Every time a sequence from this film was shown as Davis' Lifetime Achievement Award presentation, the very high-brow audience gave those scenes resounding rounds of applause (in 1977). Last Friday, I played it for a friend who's still talking about it. Thee timeless romance.
As a child, when people spoke of legendary actresses, Bette Davis' name was always at the top of the list. My first introduction to this great actress was through television in the 70's with films like Baby Jane and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. However it wasn't until I reached adulthood and saw Now, Voyager that it clicked to me how phenomenal this lady's talent was. After that viewing, I've seen almost every film Miss Davis has made and I can say honestly that my life as been enriched by watching her play those different roles on screen. It wasn't just Bette Davis playing the role, she WAS each character. The world truly lost a great talent when she left it. I'm so glad that such a rich film legacy remains for future generations to enjoy.
Life Changing Movie.
- TALAN STEUBENVILLE
This movie is for all the "ugly ducklings", all of the "Rudolf the Rednose Reindeers" and all of the Misfits in all of us. A movie about all of us who actually are better and more special than we will ever know. A great movie to recommend to anyone who needs a not "a kick in the pants", but a "curtain removed" to realize what gifts they could give the world. The message is that we are all voyagers who need to sail [not knowing where we are going or what will happen, but we must voyage anyway to find out who we are. This movies message transcends acting and cinema. It is the unraveling of a personal journey we must all take. Now! Voyage!
Now Voyager is one of my top five movies, and while I think Bette Davis is wonderful, I am absolutly in love with Paul Henreid. I can not get enough of him. I watch this movie at least once a month, and I never get tired of it!! I LOVE IT!
The Quintessential Bette Davis Film
...which is saying a lot considering the body of her work and her magnificence as an actress. For me, this is the film in which she most clearly reveals the depths of her vulnerability as well as her strength, and she is a joy to behold. My mother always mentioned "Now, Voyager" as her favorite movie but my first glimpse of it was as part of a scene in "The Summer of '42." Since then I've seen it many, many times. It's a wonderful story about a repressed "spinster" (living under her mother's iron rule) who breaks away and, like a butterfly, evolves...Bette totally nails the part with her ability to portray not just the outside but the inside of Charlotte Vale. Also excellent: Gladys Cooper as her domineering mother, Claude Rains as her therapist, Paul Henreid as her lover and Ilka Chase as her sister-in-law. Personally, I particulary enjoy the part of the film that takes place in South America. So romantic! And the music!
BEST LOVE STORY
- ELIZABETH ABED-ELHAY
I have loved this movie all my life. My grandmother introduced me to old movies from the 40's, 50's,and 60's. I will always think the classics are the best. No matter how they re-write and re-vamp the new versions of these. They will never touch the romance, thrill and drama of the classic
A MUST SEE SOOOO ROMANTIC
My mother and I watched this movie together and enjoyed! Bette at her best (her outfits were absolutely beautiful) and Paul Henreid - what can I say but "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry." Please TCM play this one again!!
What a movie! For a very long time I had wanted to see this movie. But every time it was on it always seemed like I had to do something. But last night it was on as one of the Essentials. An amazing love story! Bettie Davis was great in it. Her and Paul Hereid are great together. This is definetly a classic. It you have never seen it check to see when it comes on next and watch it. You won't be sorry you did.
I agree with Rose McGovern on the Essentials. This movie can be seen a thousand times and it is still mezmorizingtime after time after time. That is why I like the older movies of the 30's and 40's. They are made to be intriging forever and you never get tired of them. They are like paintings in the Louve in Paris that are everlasting and you can't take your eyes off them. By the way, Thank You for following up with Carole Lumbard as the Star of the Month. After Kay Francis whom I looked forward to seeing every Thursday, I am glad that you chose another classic movie star in that inexplicable era that cannot ever be duplicated.
A must see!
- Effie K.
I love Bette Davis, and I love this movie! It's such a beautiful story, and Bette Davis is ammazing!
- Kathi Kramer
Great movie and check out the use of light in how Bette Davis' earrings and dress sparkle--just as her personality sparkles from under her own "old" skin in her own renaissance. Fabulous!!!
"I could die with pride!"
- April Sanz
Two words: MAGNIFICENTLY BEAUTIFUL What can I say? I can't stop watching this! It makes me so happy! The lighting of two cigarettes at a time... what marvel! Paul Henreid... what a man! Bette Davis... MAN!!! What a girl!
What A Great Movie!
- Clare Ikeguchi
This movie was so well done. When I saw the movie it became one of my absolute favorites. Bette Davis's performance was outstanding, no one could have done better. I loved the whole transformation in Charlotte. She not only changed on the outside, she transformed herself on the inside, which makes this movie so special. It was also great that she found Jerry, who comforted her and loved her for who she was. The cast is great and Irving Rapper did wonderfully directing the movie. What else can I say, it's an awesome movie all the way around!
after watching this movie it quickly climbed its way to the top spot of my favorite movies. i just loved it. i have never seen such a great movie. it was sad and funny romanic movie. i just loved it !
Even in this too-brief role, Claude Rains is sizzlin' hot. Charlotte should have married Dr. Jaquith, not Jerry.
Bette Davis reigns!
This is a classic ugly duckling -Cinderella story and speaks to the possibility of transformation in life, in particular for a woman. You have to have been deprived of attention due to you for your qualities, while others gathered it based on physicality, looks, or 'cute-ness'. If you haven't experienced this in your life, you cannot appreciate the message of this film, nor the imparting of the message through the genius of Bette Davis' acting ability. The scene that James Woods speaks of always brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it. Who of us could resist the temptation to become greedy when we were shown or given just a little bit of what we all deserved in life - after having been deprived of it for such a long time. It's human nature to want more. It's like being on diet for months; imagine that you discovered that you could still eat whatever you wanted and maintain the same weight - would you stick to your macrobiotic diet and jogging an hour everyday? Think about it. Bette Davis' character is superhuman and she transcends human nature in such a way that it makes you believe that it is possible to be like her character in the film...
A masterful supporting cast...
- Ann Brown
...is a must for the great Bette Davis! Here she is free to create Charlotte Vale in a remarkably nuanced performance because the other players carry their share of the heavy lifting. Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, Ilka Chase, and Bonita Granville all make their characters like beautifully carved pieces of ivory. But the best is a leading man worthy of Bette - Paul Henreid - who can even make lighting a cigarette incredibly intimate. Get your smelling salts girls, he'll make you swoon!
"Why Have the Moon, When We Can Have the Stars"
WOW! What a wonderful and romantic movie! Charlotte Vale, is a dominated, unhappy spinster. Her mother has always dominated her, even refers to Charlotte as "her ugly duckling". Charlotte is chubby (her mother does not believe in dieting), wears unflattering clothes and shoes, thick glasses, has super-thick eyebrows and is so repressed. Thank goodness her siser-in-law found a Psych. to help her. She goes away to a sanitarioum and emerges on a cruise ship as a beautiful, society dame. She falls in love with a married man and she even follows him to South America. He is married to a very cold and distant woman and has 2 daughters. Mrs. Vale dies and Charlotte goes back to the sanitarioum feeling guilty. She meets her lovers' daughter Tina. Tina is a younger version of the old Charlotte Vale. Together these 2 form a bond and learn from one another. It is a motherly-daughter relationship. In the end Tina goes to live with Charlotte and the house is always so full of happy people! But Charlotte and Jerry never marry; they have a very heart-wrenching scene where they smoke, she says "Why Have the Moon, When We Can Have the Stars, Jerry" and it ends with the camera panning up to the sky. I would like to have seen Jerry and Charlotte together, but it makes this movie even more romantic and a weepy! I would also like to note that it is very interesting to see Bonita Graville play Charlotte's bratty, mean neice. And I love it when Charlotte finally stands up to her and puts her in her place.
- Classic Film Fan
I just saw this and wasn't impressed. Bette is so overrated!
One of the Great Tearjerkers
Bette Davis is simply the most versatile American actress in movies past or present. The Corn is Green, Jezebel, All About Eve...the list is endless. Every time I watch this I form a new opinion about the outcome. Yesterday I decided they had a future because Charlotte was keeping Tina with her and the father would be able to visit. http://emptynestevolution.blogspot.com/
This One Has Everything!
"Now, Voyager" is my all-time favorite movie. It is top-notch in all categories: script, actors (oh, that Bette!), music, direction. If there's a better movie out there, I haven't seen it. Bette Davis is superb as the daughter who struggles against her mother's cold dominance, Paul Henreid utterly charming as the unhappily married man who sees into Bette's heart and supports and loves her. The first time Jerry lights two cigarettes at once, and hands one to Charlotte (like a proxy kiss) is a classic scene, and more romantic it just does not get. The next time TCM broadcasts "Now, Voyager", sit down, put your feet up, and prepare to hate seeing the movie end.
The one and only.
Here is the queen again.She is so admired and adored. I'm just glad that Irving Rapper got his way because that music, just like the music in Jezabel, which plays throughout the picture is simply beautiful, just like that music when she dances with Henry Fonda in Jezabel, which is absolutely gorgeous. Max Seiner is greatly underated and he made that movie one of America's favorites. People love Bette because her temperamental artestry shines through.
- Kevin Butler
This is the quintessential Davis movie! There will never be in 500 years another Bette Davis! No Actor in the 20th century will ever be able to convey on screen the magical effect that Miss Davis seemed posess. When TMC shows any of her films, get ready for a fete de force! A unmatchable talent never to be surpassed!
Now, Voyager is Fabulous!
I just saw 'Now, Voyager' for the first time last night on TCM and now have a newly found respect for Bette Davis. I've never much cared for Bette Davis or her film performances. I just happened to stumble onto last night's showing and decided to watch it. This movie I loved, and I loved her in it! One of the best classics I've seen in a long time. I'd always heard about the movie, but never paid it much attention because I wasn't a Davis fan. And it wasn't just Davis's performance that was great. Excellence and brilliance on the part of the director, cinematographer and other actors made this movie shine brighter than the majority of films made in it's day. Simply fabulous!
Just Discovered Paul Henreid
I remember seeing this movie years ago and loved Bette. Now, I love watching Paul Henreid. I'm trying to watch all his movie. Dreamy.
Just saw this film for the first time and it is indeed memorable. Miss Davis' transformation is magic as the character of Charlotte Vale overcomes the absurdly suffocating mother played by Gladys Cooper.
- Joy MacCue
I've seen this movie a few times over the years. Each time I enjoy Bette Davis more for the consumate actress she always was. A wonderful story combined with a great cast and moving music.
Profound and powerful film.
This is one of my all time favorite films. Very powerful and relavent, today as it was when created. Bette Davis is convincing and sympathetic, easily drawing the viewer into the story. Of course Bette Davis is a wonderful actress, but I consider this film to be one of her very best. Don't pass this one up!
Great Actress, Great Performance
This is the movie that made me understand what all the fuss over Bette Davis was about. I never get tired of watching it. A great story with great acting.
Watching Davis on screen perform in any of her movies has been unforgettable and at times "mesmerizing" especially Now Voyager, and Jezebel. The mold was broken after her creation, never to be duplicated again!
I'll take a black and white, Bette Davis movie any day. She was an outstanding actress. You feel what the character feels! Movies and actors today, cannot compare to the Great Bette Davis. Dark Victory, Now,Voyager and Old Maid are my favorits.
paul henreid (beautiful german)
What a great movie ! They don't make men or movies like that anymore.Can't wait to see it again.They could'nt have put together a more perfect cast.
Tremendous performance and beautiful movie
Bette Davis cannot make a bad movie if she tried. She is like no other. The musical score is beautiful and I know that she didn't want to be underscored but Max Steiner and Bette Davis were made for each other. This movie, like all of her others can be watched over and over, day after day. She is phenominal to say the least.
The musical score combines with the acting performance and the viewer's reactions to form an unusually heightened and sustained emotional experience.
An excellent film; one of Betty Davis,s best performances.