I think it is safe to say that if you have not viewed "Now, Voyager" you should not consider yourself an oldie film nerd. Too harsh? Maybe this last statement will motivate those who have not seen Bette in her biggest box office draw into watching this spectacular film, and one of my top five faves.
You want romance? This is the film. Bette starts out as a total hag with a serious uni brow. She lives with her beyond strict and super mean mother. Bette has been told her whole life that she was not planned and is a bad egg.
Bette's sister-in-law arranges a head doctor to come visit Bette and see what can be done. He realizes the mother is nuts and that Bette is very crafty. He orders her to a stay at his mental institution. Bette just wants out of the house.
After her stay, sister-in-law and doctor think it is best if Bette goes on holiday. She jumps on a ship and is told by her beloved doctor to "try everything, and be open to everyone".
Along with couch lying comes a makeover, and Bette is introduced to a single traveler who needs a partner for the day. She takes the doctor's advice and says yes. Cue in (Jerry) Paul Henreid. Before I go on, I must say that at first, I wasn't too into him. Ehh, I thought the first time I saw this picture. This changes about 10 minutes after he is on screen. The chemistry between these two is strong!
The two become friends and Bette learns Jerry is married and has two children. One of his daughters is miserable and her story greatly resembles Bette's before the makeover.
On an shore day adventure, Bette and Jerry get stuck in the woods after a minor car crash. They spend the night in a shack and Jerry realizes how he feels about her.
Soon Bette meets his on-board friends and learns that Jerry's wife is a rag and that he is hiself miserable. Jerry learns about Bette's past and is OK with her mental issues.
It is time for Jerry to leave, and neither can bare it. They plan to just say goodbye and never see each other again, oh the agony!
Bette goes home to see her mother. She briefly tells her off, but is still under her harsh ways. Bette gets engaged to a nice but boring guy, but she still wants Jerry.
Bette decides to dump her beau and mother gets so upset she croaks. Bette decides to return to the loony bin for some rest.
When she returns to the bin, she meets *gasp* Jerry's daughter. She is also unwanted by her mother and is there to get help. Bette takes her under her wing and they become fast friends. They even go camping. Jerry knows about this set up and is fine with it.
In the end, Jerry must decide what to do about his daughter, and his great love, Bette. The most romantic thing about this film is the many times Jerry lights a cigarette for Bette. I usually would not promote or enjoy the cancer stick scenes, but these are so cute. He puts two in his mouth, lights them, then gives one to her, all without even asking her if she wants one.
This film is considered Bette's best work, and I would agree. Paul would finish shooting on this film and start filming for "Casablanca" the next morning. Talk about dedication! The boyfriend and I agree the, 'The End' title with the back of the ship was a nice touch.