Bette Davis Tearjerker
This 1942 melodrama was based on a novel by the author of Stella Dallas
and stars Bette Davis a woman dominated by her overbearing mother. This
situation has left Charlotte Vale (Davis) on the verge of a breakdown,
prompting an intervention on her behalf by a famous and kindly shrink
played by the great Claude Rains.
Rains works a miracle on Charlotte, turning her into a beautiful, confident
woman who leaves her mental prison and embarks on a whole new life. She
decides to take a pleasure cruise, on which she meets Jerry (Paul Henreid),
the father of a troubled daughter. They fall in love, of course, but since
Jerry is married (albeit unhappily), the romance can not be allowed to
lead anywhere. So they go their separate ways.
Destiny brings them together on occasion, however, and Charlotte finds
great satisfaction in helping Jerry's child (sounds like she should have
been involved in the MDA telethons!).
Now, Voyager was basically the tearjerker template used by many filmmakers
who followed, and so will seem familiar even to people who've never seen
it before. It did to us.
Davis is outstanding, as is the rest of the cast - and don't forget to
have some Kleenexes handy; they don't call this type of flick a tearjerker
Mention should also be made of Max Steiner's outstanding, Oscar-winning
musical score. Steiner was one of the best, and this is one of his best.
The DVD was released in its original, full screen aspect ratio, so it
fits 4x3 TV's well, but owners of 16x9 TV's will have to stretch it to
fit the screen from side to side. This is always unfortunate, but we can't
think of a better way of doing it - and it's probably poetic justice for
all those people who hate the black bars above and below the screen of
widescreen movies when played on 4x3 TV's.
Anyway, the black and white picture is sharp and clean, with good contrast,
and the Dolby Digital mono audio sounds mostly good and is correctly directed
to the center front speaker, where the sounds will appear to come from
the TV screen.
Extras include musical scoring session cues, which are an interesting
exercise for fans of the technical side of movie making. There are also
some cast/crew career highlights.
Now, Voyager, from Warner Home Video
117 min. black and white, full screen (4x3), not 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby
Starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper,
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Written by Casey Robinson, Directed by Irving Rapper.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think