I think Bette Davis is growing on me. It isn't that I don't like her, but she was never one of my faves. But after the last few pictures of hers that I had never seen before, I think I am liking her much more. Blame "Dark Victory". Said to be Bette's favorite role to play and her biggest box office draw up to that point, this film shows Bette at her best, with lots of melodrama and secrets.
Bette plays Judith, a rich, stubborn, party girl who loves horses and recently has been getting awful headaches. She and bestie Ann love to drink and smoke. After falling off her horse, running into people, and a laughable trip down the stairs (sorry Bette, but it is kinda funny)she decides to see the old family physician. He is clueless and sends her over to Dr. Steele, aka George Brent.
Yes, that is Ronnie Regan playing bit part playboy lush, Alec.
Dr. Steele examines Judith and watches her behavior. She is in denial and is being difficult. Dr. Steele watches as she has trouble lighting her cigarette.
He tells Judith she needs brain surgery, and after a bitch fit, she agrees. Before the surgery she is smoking, requesting she wear her own frocks, and complaining about her bed being too small, but isn't that what rich gals do?
Once it is all over Dr. Steele learns some terrible news. Judith has cancer and she will die. Oh no! He decides not to tell her and figures she will discover this info sooner or later, like on her death bed. She will have no pain, but start going blind hours before the end. I love how doctors know so much. She has about six months to live.
Judith is full of life again and back to throwing parties and smoking like a chimney. She is so happy, but Dr. Steele is sad because he likes her and realizes she is going to die. He can't hold it in much longer and shares his secret with pal Ann. She must also keep the secret.
Judith tells Ann she is in love with Dr. Steele and Ann tells him. So high school of her. He decides to marry her and make her few last months great. Before moving to Vermont with the doctor, Judith stumbles across her files and learns the truth!
Judith goes on a binge with Ronnie and then dumps doctor and Ann so she can be grumpy.
After a night of too much hooch, Judith meets up with horse man Micheal played by contract player Humphrey Bogart (with a really bad haircut). He usually helps with the horses but now he wants a piece of Judith. She realizes she must try to make the best of her days and gets back with the doctor. Must have been one bad kiss.
Judith and her man get married and move to Vermont. They act like nothing is bad and are happy.
Ann comes to visit and while gardening Judith starts to go blind. The end is near! She swears Ann to secrecy (she is good at that) sends hubby on his business trip, says goodbye to the doggies, and heads up stairs.
This film has great acting, and because of "Gone With The Wind", and "The Wizard Of Oz", got mixed in the shuffle. Bette was nominated but did not win. This movie is not a song and dance and be merry flick, but one with a solid plot and great performances.
Love the feather purse.