Sunday, 10 October 2010

"She's just a sour old maid who hates me because I'm young and attractive and in love!"

I come to you, dear reader, after watching my Dad stress-fully try to clean the cages of the family stick insects. My sister brought one back from a school friend a few months ago, and left me with the eggs. They all hatched. I am petrified of them. I was telling this to someone on the phone earlier today, and he said "Come on, I'm sure Bette wouldn't have been scared of a stick insect!" I could only reply with "Grrrrrr." My dad came into the living room with a tree's worth of Ivy from the garden and set about his work.
This isn't actually my stickie, but in the words of Debbie Reynolds, "you seen one, you seen em' all!'
But with all that sorted out me and my sister are about to sit down and watch The Old Maid together for the 10th time.

The Old Maid

Two young cousins, Delia (Miriam Hopkins) and Charlotte (Bette Davis), are preparing for Delia's wedding to the rich and powerful Mr. Rallston, when she is interrupted by her old fiance, Clem (George Brent, again) who is back from war. She refuses to elope with him and he is heartbroken. Charlotte ends up missing the wedding while trying to console Clem. They become involved in a passionate love affair, but he is called away again for another war and is killed. She tells everyone she is going away for her "health" but she is really going away to have Clem's baby in secret. She comes back and starts an orphanage for children and hides her own child, Clementina, among them.
Charlotte is all set to marry Delia's husband's brother, but just before the wedding she confesses to Delia that she can never give up the orphanage because her own child is there. She comes back with a vicious "You! You and Clem!" Charlotte tells her to tell the young Mr. Rallston what happened and see if he will still accept her. Delia instead tells him that he could not possibly marry her because she will be dead soon because of her "health". Delia lets on that he couldn't accept her if she had another man's child. Her chances ruined forever, she and her daughter move in with Delia and Charlotte lets Delia raise Clementina as her own as well as having her own children. She is doomed to only be known by her daughter as "a sour old maid who hates me." When Delia's husband dies, the whole situation gets even more interesting.

The Review:
Bette Davis is enchanting as the wide-eyed young girl,
And the old spinster.
Directed again by Edmund Goulding, a nasty British-director who hated Bette Davis (it probably didn't help that she used to bring a large yellow jotting pad to the sets and re-write the script, but if I was a star of her stature and had a really bad script, I would re-write it!) but he is, in the words of Bette herself, "A genius movie-maker." Another great all around film. Which, to quote the DVD cover is "A brilliant example of melodrama as art" It is pretty racy for a film made in 1939, but that is one of the things that you definitely admire about the film.



Libby said...

Yes! Finally something I've seen, and definitely enjoyed.
Last night I watched The Philadelphia Story. Swoon. James Stewart is super-tall and he manages to look about twelve whilst romanticising with Katharine Hepburn. Cary Grant is amazing. All through the film I thought he looked like someone and then I decided it was Rock Hudson.

Frl. Irene Palfy said...

I love that film!! *sigh*

Bette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bette said...

Damn You! You beat me To a film I really wanted to see! But hahaha it is in the post on it's way to me. (Just kidding, I love you really) I love Jimmy Stewart. He has ruined me for life and he is my fantasy crush for sure. I have just sobbed my way through The Old Maid. Bette is so touching and motherly. How her daughte could have written such a horrid book about her I will never know. Cary always wins for me.
P.S. My other comment was removed by me because the wasn't right. Grrrrr. I'm such a perfectionist.

Mark said...

More interested in the stick insects!! But I absolutely agree with Debbie R - in so many ways!
Can't believe you haven't seen the Philadelphia Story! What about "The Women?" Mxx

Cary maids said...

That is certainly a nice intro..from stick insects to watching an old film "Old Maid". I wonder what might your reaction have been if the stick insect escaped and jumped on the end of your nose while watching the film....

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