- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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They certainly don't make them like this anymore.
- Jimmy Marshall
It has it all.
Tour de force performances by Bette Davis and Claude Rains! The film in the Gilded Age when the wealthy women of the day were much like Fanny and, like her, many married wealthy men like Job. Job was obsessed with Fanny and her beauty, while she was obsessed with herself and what his money could bring her. This devil's bargain of theirs progresses through the Roaring Twenties, WWI, a child, & Fanny's vanity. Fanny's contracting diphtheria, a disease virtually untreatable at the time, leaves her with visions of the husband she has spurned and, with those visions & her ravaged beauty, comes the guilt for what she has done through the years. WWII breaks out & Job has joined up to fight once again. An aged Fanny now realizes she is no longer the beauty she once was and she sees how empty her life is; however, she doesn't have a clue how to deal with it all until her cousin, George, brings Job to her. She is told how he suffered in the war, how he is now poor but she is wealthy only because of Job, & her refusal to see Job because of her looks is ridiculous as "there are a lot worse things than losing your beauty." With age definitely comes wisdom & Fanny seeing Job for the first time in many years, seeing his age, his blindness & his suffering finally shocks Fanny into reality. This one scene is worth the entire film. At long last, Fanny comes out of herself to love someone else. Note Claude Rains' reactions in this scene. His "seeing" Fanny again lights up his face and, when he stands, then falls over the stool & is embraced by Fanny, his entire being falls into her breast as she cradles him in her arms & he realizes she finally loves him. Only an actor of Rains' caliber could have pulled these emotions off and, after all, he taught Olivier & Gielgud! (Remember that Rains himself was blind in one eye from a gas attack in WWII.) Outstanding acting & actors!
To Badger BabeI think your wrong in how thisMovie shows the Blind. Yes Bettyis sorry for her husband because he is blind. However if you watch the movieclosely Betty says the Nazi's did this to you. She realizes the Nazi's destroyed herhusband causing him to lose his sightThis movie is not degrading the Blind inany way As far as him tripping over the stoolClaude has just been released from the Nazi hellHe would not have had any rehab.
Of all the great Bette Davis movies, this one has always been my favorite. I find the psychology of her character quite interesting. (More so, incidentally, than her mentally disturbed heroine in Now Voyager.) The lack of parents and their unconditional love leaves her with the notion that her beauty is her only value. It also leaves her unusually attached to her brother. There is a delicious irony in the way that Fanny -- for whom superficial appearance is everything -- makes herself looks ridiculous. And not just at the big party near the end; she makes a spectacle of herself when seen with the mobster and when flirting with men too young for her. While Bette is not the quintessential beauty, she has an impeccable understanding of an upper-crust lady of that time and place. Notice how her voice is pitched a tone higher throughout the film. Even when she wants to tell off the psychiatrist, she can't quite bring herself to shout. The music score by Franz Waxman is outstanding, helping to give the film an almost operatic quality. It's rather like an opera the way various motifs keep reoccurring. (for ex., multiple suitors, Jamie Clarkson, "a woman is only beautiful when...")
Another Classic Bette Davis Feature.
It may have some flaws but a great movie overall. Good cast, with Davis and Claude Rains delivering a strong performance.
The magic of films is the emotions it stirs and this pair of phenomenal actors bring the era of frivolousness to a climactic end. I think every woman deals with this syndrome of maturity at some point in their lives but, thank God most of us learn the lesson and go on to value the character of a person. Fanny was living the part her past had taught her and for some of us it takes a life time to learn some lessons. Remember, she didn't have her mother as her guide. I loved the humor and that prepared me for a happy ending. She truly loved Trippy and George butJob was the only one who didn't hound her which made him more appealing to her.Her recovery from near death and the Dr.'s shock treatment wakes her up and she starts to grow up before our eyes as each beau reveals their love only for her beauty and not her self.When Fanny leaves after emotionally slapping her mother, Mrs. Skeffington, realizes Fanny was telling her the truthabout their lives and what she had lost because of her vanity and selfishness. Only then her heart opens up to accept her cousin's wise words of love to welcome Job back into her lonely life. And fill it with his love that she could not see through the shallowness of her actions. I was Mrs. Skeffington, until cancer took my beauty and as she, I learned that a woman is beautiful only when she gives love. Davis and Rains, two powerful performers. A wonderful experience.
Blind plot device undermines otherwise fine movie
This is the second time I've seen this film, starring the wonderful Claude Rains (the talented stage and film actor who portrayed the inspector in Casablanca) and Bette Davis (never afraid to play an ugly character). I was taken with this film until I read the full synopsis posted on this site. Before reading it, I thought there had been some not-well-established reason for Fanny's change of heart when she takes her ex-husband back into the home he had provided for her (out of love for this pathetically vain creature). I assumed Fanny was touched by the horrible experience her husband went through in the concentration camp. Then I read the synopsis -- that Fanny feels sorry for her ex-husband because he is blind. As the wife of a blind man, I find that "punch line" to a movie appalling! My husband said I should "take into account" the year when this movie was made -- as well as negative societal attitudes toward blindness that linger even today. I'm afraid I still find that plot element obnoxious and insulting. Blind folks -- even those who become blind later in life -- can figure out their surroundings. They don't necessarily trip over footstools. Maybe I'm taking this fictional diversion too seriously. But as much as I admire all of the actors in this film and the production itself, I guess I'll save myself for other Claude Rains movies. Either that, or I'll focus my attention on the tragedy of the Fanny character -- someone who pushes away everything of value in her life (her daughter and a loving husband) to focus attention on herself (a profoundly boring creature) and the one thing that never lasts, one's "pretty" physical appearance. Real beauty is found in an honest and honorable character and in giving love to others. Pity for a blind person who trips over a stool doesn't quality as a logical motivation to move from selfishness and indifference to compassion and mature love between a man and a woman.
If I Were Bette Davis . . .
I would have fallen madly in love with Claude Rains by the time this, their second film together, was being made. I do not know this guy Rains. He is long gone from this life; but, all of his marvelous films remain. His best are withBette Davis. As actors who go so deeply into characters, especially intense, originals & in many ways on film, immortals, Davis & Rains are a perfect match. Assuredly, in this movie they are.Davis picked Rains to play the title role. She has the lead. Davis & Rains were great chums but not lovers, oddly. Maybe we owe their great films to the fact they did not become lovers. Perhaps that might have killed off their on screen alchemy which is phenomenal. Any way, I'm in love Claude Rains . . . insane, I'm sure, since I don't have a clue about who he really was. I only know his on screen characters.
HEAVEN HELP A MAN WITH SUCH A WOMAN
Honestly, what husband would tolerate 12 years of "suitors" beating down his door to pursue his wife? Considering that Fanny really is NOT that beautiful of a woman, I guess we must use our imaginations that every guy on the planet would trip over themselves to get to her. Fanny is one UNGRATEFUL wife to continue treating Job and their daughter like yesterday's newspaper. And yet, she is so protective of her dishonest brother Trippy. Shame on females who are willing to stay in a marriage abusing their source of money! Fanny should have divorced Job years ago (or never married him in the first place), to free him up to find a lady who could truly appreciate his affections! When the shoe is on the other foot, Fanny isn't nearly as forgiving when Job is spotted out with his "5th" secretary. She must learn the hard way that old age and empty houses are no fun. True Love Wins? For Job yes, for Fanny - well, only because Job will never see the REAL deal. Bette Davis and Claude Rains do an excellent portrayal of their characters. Absolutely love the grand staircase!
At the Top of TCM's List: Rains & Davis
It was heartening to know that finally Claude Rains was at the top of TCM's listright next to Bette Davis, soon after this film was broadcast by TCM. It gives me hope for classic film viewers, in general. The recognize that Claude Rains was a master actor of the stage & screenis long overdue. Bette Davis knew it & requested he play this title role. She refered to Claude Rains as "dear Claude',in more than one interview. Rains is a dear soul as Job Skeffington. This is nota typical role for Rains to play. Daviswas not simply an actor. She also had talent as a kind of casting agent. In other words, she had a feel for who would fill a role quite well. I must say,this choice of hers offers proof of her proficiency because I can't imangine any other actor playing the role of Mr. Skeffington.
Understated & Overt Humor by Davis & Rains
First, I have to tell that my favorite couple of actors is these two: Davis & Rains. I wrote on Davis' main page a brief review of her comedies & humor, butthere's not enough space to do a completeone. I deliberately left out this film tocome here & pay it the kind of attention it deserves. The suitors who relentlesslypursue Fanny (Davis), even after she's married to Job (Rains), is hilarious because of how both Davis & Rains take them so casually, without taking offense.That is the overt humor. The understated kind tongue-in-cheek in nearly every other relationship Fanny has. All Davis has to do is look at a younger man who's deciding what to call both Fannys when he says he'll call the daughter young Fanny and...Davis' facial expression of 'don't dare call me older' is the understated. Fanny repeatedly mentions a friend she's going to have lunch with from start to finish of the film. Yet, their dates are always cancelled, the woman is never seen or heard & to Fanny, she's a stand in, just in case Fanny has no other engagement. That understated humor about "cancelling lunch with Janie"is the final line in the film.
Vanity & Patience Personified by Davis & Rains
When you know in advance that the actors who are playing roles do not possess the particular personality parts that they become famous for performing, their performances are all the more amazing. Bette Davis was known as the least egotistical and narcissistic of all actors. Her concern, as an actor, was formaking classic films. Her focus was on a much bigger picture than her own part. Hence, playing the vanity of Fanny was pure acting by Davis. Similarly, Claude Rains was not know for being patient! He could be explosive & pensive in reality. Bette Davis chose her dear friend to play the title role of Job Skeffington because she knew he was the greatest actor alive & could definitely personify the kind of patience that he did not possess. Together, very dear friends took the lead roles to make one of the most entertaining, socially valuable and emotionally moving films.
Davis' & Rains' Only Film Married
Claude Rains' daughter is currently doinga TCM mini-bio about her dad. During she speaks quite a bit about Rains' very close relationship with Bette Davis. She makes the comment that Bette Davis wantedmore from their relationship than Rains was willing to give. But she also said that Rains terrified Davis. That's hard to imagine. It's easier to picture one of the most perfect acting matches of classic films as a couple in real life. However, there's only one time when they were a couple: during this film. They play Fanny and Job Skeffington. Every film this remarkably skilled acting duo are in together becomes my favorite every time I watch them. It's simple to understand because their mutual admiration for each other as actors, thatnever crossed over into a love affair, was played out through their on screen characters...and it clearly shows. If theirs had been one among their combined 10 marriages, I don't imagine it would have EVER been like the Skeffingtons'! Anyway, in real life these two lead actors were extremely close FRIENDS for life. Lovers come & go; friends remain.
Job's Patience with Fanny's Vanity
Job Skeffington is played by the great British actor of the stage & screen, Claude Rains. He married the most desired& beautiful woman in town, Fanny Treliss.Job knows she doesn't (yet) love him; buthopes she will in time. He also knows he has landed the woman every other eligiblebachelor has sought after. The fun part of the film is that these suitors continue to propose marriage to Job's wife & he understands! Rains portrays the wealthy Jewish stock broker with suchrestraint & grace that he's easy to love.What is interesting is how Davis portraysthe most vane woman imaginable because you can't help but love her equally well.There seems to be no mean bone in either of their bodies. While their marriage seems loveless due to Fanny's naracissismit is one that is full of grace. It has made me ask time & again, what is love? And taught me that anything can happen.
Fanny and Job Skeffington: Davis & Rains
There are, fortunately, several great pairs of classic actors who remain ever so memorable for their acting achievements. Bette Davis & Claude Rains are right at the top of that short list. This film offers lots of evidence of how great Davis & Rains worked with each other. Each actor had already established themself as a great master of performing arts. This film was the icing on their cakes. Davis is so into character as Fanny that she's out of character as Bette Davis! Rains is likewise. Fanny is as vane as a woman could be. Davis was anything but. Job is subdued by patience to biblical proportions. Rains is a powerhouse actor.Together, Davis & Rains create one of the most believable & engaging stages of life dramas I've ever enjoyed.
Comical Surface, Emotional Depth
Fanny Skeffington (Bette Davis) is one ofthe most unusual characters I've seen Bette Davis play. There reason I say thatis because Fanny is ultimately dependent upon what other people, especially men, think of her appearance. Anyone who knowsthe work history of Bette Davis will have to agree that in order to become this character Davis had to go directly against her own grain-both as an actor and a private citizen. Of all the actors I can imagine at this moment, Davis is the least vane of them all! She went wellout of her way to be a wreck on film if the role called for it. When her cohorts were doing their glamour puss routines, voguing at every chance, Davis could've cared less! Thus, the vanity of Fanny is pure acting. Davis stays stealthly in character throughout every split second of film. Paired with Claude Rains (Job Skeffington), the contrast between their characters could not be more stark.
Comparing "Fashions of 1934" with This
When Bette Davis played a clothes designed in "Fashions of 1934," 10 years prior to this film, she detested being glamourized to the hilt, saying she was made up to "look like Greta Garbo." Playing the role of Fanny Skeffington, the most beautiful woman in town, the most sought after and the most vane, Davis was dressed to the nines in the fashions of the early to mid 1900's. (And Davis had the build to wear stunningperiod costumes!). But...I wonder how she felt about becoming Fanny, with all of those glamourous adornments. Was it different this time because the point of the film is to expose the vanity of Fanny as so perilous that it destroys nearly every relationship she's ever had.Perhaps that angle on vanity made all the difference to Davis. It's certainly a heck of a fashion show to see her in such gorgeous dresses. It made me pay more attention to the great physique she had.
Fanny (Bette Davis) & Job (Claude Rains)
The best match up between actors during the golden era was Bette Davis and Claude Rains. Both of them were powerhouse performers who repeatedly delivered bravura performances. This time, both play milder-mannered characters and do that so well this is a classic film which is both a delight and emotionally moving. They are Mr. and Mrs. Skeffington, an unlikely marriage that is destroyed by Fanny's self-absorption (conceit & vanity). All is not hopeless because there is quite a remarkable, everyday life type of turn of events that brings them back into each other's old ages. Recommended to everyone.
I'll assume most of us know what "the patience of Job" means. That's what Mr. Skeffington (Claude Rains) has in relation to his vain beauty of a wife, Fanny Treliss Skeffington (Bette Davis). Considering how both Rains and Davis are known as master classic actors who can assuredly crank up the volume, 'chew the scenery', and royally rip through a script, in this film both of their performances are remarkably subdued. Fanny's into being the Belle of every moment as if each was a ball. Job's a business man who loves her dearly even though her male suitors keep calling upon her, proposing marriage, AFTER she's Job's wife! Each time she rejects them, he'll be near the door to hand them their hats. Her narcissism is so overwhelming it nearly destroys the Skeffington's. The end is divinely redeeming with a moralistic type of quality that teaches to never give up hope. This is another Davis and Rains classic with superb acting at its core.
The Davis and Rains Screen Dynamics
Sometimes fireworks, other times endearing, always entertaining, endlessly classic Bette Davis and Claude Rains on screen together are a dream match. Both of them are master actors. In this film, the issue is a woman's obsession with being beautiful and perhaps the quality of her life depended upon it. Many women were led to believe this untruth. Fanny Treliss (Bette Davis) represents all objectified women. Job Skeffington (Claude Rains) is the man with money who Fanny choses to marry over all of her suitors and represents the unloved man who's used for his money and influence. Davis and Rains could portray these types of characters expertly well. The way they play off of each other is rich. Job has the patience of a saint. Fanny is as vane as the most shallow being. But she's so sweet, refined, and hospitable. Even having a baby is a matter of ruining her looks. Then the little girl is in her way. But Davis is careful to play Fanny as too genteel to be unliked. The way Rains and Davis close this film is performed with such perfection. Be prepared to feel a well of the deepest kinds of emotion. This film gives the hope that people can and do change. Another classic.
Fanny's Faces and Costumes
Claude Rains has suddenly become one of my favorite actors because of his performances with Bette Davis! Where does television hide these great men and women actors, anyway? Okay so he's Job Skeffington, a wealthy Jewish merchant, and Miss Davis is the most wanted woman in town, Fanny Treliss. Sounds like a Shakespeare cast already, eh? She's the beauty and all the bachelors come callingfor her. When her younger brother embezzles thousands from Mr. Skeffington,Fanny decides to seduce him with her beauty. Job falls for her and they marry. All the men keep calling on her AFTER she's married! That's the comedy. The drama is really about her vanity, beauty fading, their marriage fizzling out, him being Jewish during the war and being physically tortured, and then Fanny's cousin Georgie finding a way to bring Job back into her home. It is all over the map emotionally. Rains and Davis are a match made to work together. I'll watch anything I can find. May have to go on a scavanger hunt to find their films though.
Always Bette Davis and Claude Rains
Acting as the title character, Job Skeffington, the marvelous British actor Claude Rains plays out the biblical'patience of Job' with his wife, Fanny (Bette Davis). Believe me, she gives him plenty to wrestle with but not in a high tempered Davis style way. Fanny's too vain. Her beauty's what she's well known for all over town. The men flock around her everywhere she goes. After she's married they keep proposing marriage to her. Job's there patiently handing them their hats, all the while. Fanny's vanity backfires on her when she's taken ill, then loses her youthful beauty. Later, Job comes back into her life and can't notice that she's anything but the beauty he remembered eons ago. The ending is a real happy kind of tear jerker and one of my favorites.
Bette Davis: Acting Out Many Faces
Trying to count the number of times Bette Davis changes her appearance throughout this film became toodifficult because she changes so often. As Fanny Skeffington, Davis' appearances are everything. The plot depends upon howshe performs with each appearance she puts on. The show is hers all the waythrough. The rest of the cast is stellar.At the top of the long list is the best lead actor who ever worked with Davis, Claude Rains (the title character, Mr. Job Skeffington). The plot's about Fanny's vanity and how it effects her marriage to Job. This is another Davis film that ranks as a classic. Why? Brilliant acting and a terrific script.
Bette Davis & Claude Rains
Another classic with Bette Davis & Claude Rains starring as Mr. Job & Mrs. Fanny Skeffington. Davis and Rains prove to be, over the course of their acting careers, extremely well matched for each other. Davis was such a powerhouse performer that it was difficult to find men who could match her intensity & the all she gave to each character she played. There's one exception & Rains is the man. Job Skeffington marries Fanny Treliss, the most beautiful woman in town with a collective of suitors constantly calling upon her. He's rich. Her brother has all but bankrupt their family & stolen from his boss, Skeffington. Fanny devises the plan to repay Job & remain a very well kept woman: marry Skeffington. She's a woman who depends upon being a beauty in the most vain ways possible, including flaunting it. Skeffington's in love with her. The collective of men keep proposing to her AFTER she's married! The film's part comedy, part social commentary on expectations of women, even of themselves, and marriage being much more than attraction or even love. The end is priceless.
People are beautiful when they're loving
Although Mr. Skeffington's (Claude Rains) known best for telling his wife, Fanny, that a woman's only beautiful when she's loved, Fanny Skeffington (Bette Davis), whose extreme vanity depends upon remaining youthfully beautiful, only becomes beautiful from the inside out when she's loving. Davis and Rains are as close to perfect an on screen match of equal acting skill & charisma. If they'd made dozens of films together and had become an acting duo like Astaire and Rogers became a dancing duo, they would have been the greatest dramatic acting match made in Hollywood.
Following Charlotte Vale with Fanny T. Skeffington
Charlotte Vale (Davis' role in "Now, Voyager") transforms from a frightened, frumpy shut-in, to a gorgeous social butterfly. Davis poured on the sensuality as Charlotte. Then, in "Mr. Skeffington" she plays Fanny, a woman with whom every man is smitten by her beauty. Might be the 1st time Davis shows cleavage. Although both were beautiful, Davis played Charlotte & Fanny very different. They don't resemble each other. That's great acting. One thing's the same: Davis could model lovely wardrobes with her ever so curvacious, knock out figure.
What A Movie!
- Laura J
A usual Bette does not dissapoint and Claude Rains is phenominal. I have seen this movie a few times and can see it a few more. To watch Bette age through the years in the movie and what anguish she puts Claude Rains character in is just great acting. Don't miss it.
BETTE AT HER BEST (CLAUDE TOO)!!
My all time favorite Bette Davis movie. Although maybe not considered best based on screenplay and direction it is still an outstanding movie of its time. Bette Davis is really superior in her characterization and Claude Rains is great too (the scene in the restaurant with Claude and his movie daughter can still bring on the waterworks). The ending of the movie is peerless.
Ah Lisa,I couldn't have said it better myself.I am also a Claude Rains fan but I must agree with you,that's exactly what her character was all about(vivid,with big,grand emotions that are attention getting,because that's what Fanny Skeffington needed)Excellent acting by Bette Davis!Mary-
The whole point!
- Lisa Alderete
After reading Alice's comment on how Bette Davis "overacts dreadfully" in this movie ... I must respond. No offense Alice, however, I think you miss the whole point of the movie. Clearly the intention was for her character's extravagances and flamboyance to be highlighted, which, would call for her to OVERPLAY the scenes! She was a MASTER at this, as in the movie " What Ever Happened to Baby Jane", for instance. As Meryl Streep so aptly put it, "There's Bette Davis, and then there's everyone else"! P.S. Again, I mean no offense, and I too am a Claude Rains fan.
Claude Rains Steals the Show
I'm puzzled by the comments about Bette Davis, who overacts dreadfully here. As always, Claude Rains steals the movie entirely since he was the infinitely superior actor to Bette. Davis was good, Rains was superlative.
A Fantastic Movie
I absolutely love this movie. I watch this movie every week. It is one of my favorites along with My Favorite Wife with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Bette Davis is a supreme actress and is my favorite actor of all time. I'm only 24 but I know great talent when I see it. Bette Davis is simply amazing and the movie is a true classic that will never get out-dated.
A pure Horror of a human being...
In this role, which the famous Ms. Davis undertook, it brought out all of the "ugly" transgressions one human being could perpetrate on another. She is a complete "horror" of a human being in this film. She is conceited, narcissistic as well as mercenary and superficial. Even when a "beautiful" woman portrays such a role it makes her appear "ugly", well in my opinion, she should have left this role to someone a little "less" believable, with apologies. As the old saying goes; Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes right down to the bone. What a consolation that we're never too old to learn though, she redeems herself quite graciously in the end. Great performances from all!
Mr. Skeffington - OUTSTANDING
Thanks to TCM i have discovered Betty Davis along with many other awesome actresses/actors, and in this movie Betty Davis was outstanding-simply amazing. It is a must see for everyone--pass it on!