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 Posted:   Aug 2, 2013 - 10:39 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Today I watched this 1939 warhorse for the first time in years. Bette Davis was such a ham, wasn't she - the way she grinds to a halt and pivots around like a mechanical device, and then walks off with that swagger of hers. You have to laugh!

The script by Casey Robinson (the normally excellent writer of "King's Row") was quite cheesy, but it did have some nice moments. What about this clanger: "What does 'prognosis negative' mean?"
"It's a hopeless case; death is inevitable". Loud chords; distressed practice nurse runs to the door, realizing the fleeing patient (who has been kept in the, er, dark) has just asked the question!!

The film was a 'soap' and Steiner's music plays that up to the hilt - complete with heavenly choir at the end when "Miss Traherne" goes quietly to her bed to die!!

And to think Bette Davis once criticized Steiner's music for making films seem more melodramatic. I would have thought the reverse was more appropriate. Honestly, I felt this film was an opera without the singing!!!

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 1:18 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....The film was a 'soap' and Steiner's music plays that up to the hilt - complete with heavenly choir at the end when "Miss Traherne" goes quietly to her bed to die!!.....


"Nice and loud.....I liked it!!!".....

Lina Lamont

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 2:31 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Great retort! Isn't that line from "Singin' in the Rain"?

..."you speak right here into the bush...the microphone is attached to a cable and sound goes all the way into the booth".

ROLL 'EM!!

 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 4:53 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Well, yes.

I'm just going outside. I might be a while.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 4:59 AM   
 By:   jkannry   (Member)

Today I watched this 1939 warhorse for the first time in years. Bette Davis was such a ham, wasn't she - the way she grinds to a halt and pivots around like a mechanical device, and then walks off with that swagger of hers. You have to laugh!

The script by Casey Robinson (the normally excellent writer of "King's Row") was quite cheesy, but it did have some nice moments. What about this clanger: "What does 'prognosis negative' mean?"
"It's a hopeless case; death is inevitable". Loud chords; distressed practice nurse runs to the door, realizing the fleeing patient (who has been kept in the, er, dark) has just asked the question!!

The film was a 'soap' and Steiner's music plays that up to the hilt - complete with heavenly choir at the end when "Miss Traherne" goes quietly to her bed to die!!

And to think Bette Davis once criticized Steiner's music for making films seem more melodramatic. I would have thought the reverse was more appropriate. Honestly, I felt this film was an opera without the singing!!!


Prognosis negative was running joke as movie title on Seinfeld. Medically meaningless as negative means nothing found.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 5:19 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

It's 10.20pm Saturday night here in Sydney and I'm sitting alone in my office laughing to myself like a mad relation about "prognosis negative". My husband is fast asleep in the other end of the house. He has a shocking dose of the flu and I doubt he would see the gag in "prognosis negative" just now.

 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 5:27 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Davis took her 'hemlock' in true Hollywood style, albeit fingertip first. The music helped her along quite nicely.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 5:19 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

I always assumed Judith Traherne went into a diabetic coma and died on her bed---a coma brought on by Max's super-sweet strings...... smile



NO.....
Although we can continue to joke about this, I actually think the ending of DARK VICTORY works extremely well, with Bette AND Max wrapping up an engrossing story in fine fashion, and by their individual contributions jointly giving that ending an iconic status.

Historically, there are not many movies in which we give the end moments so high a status in our memories. After 3 hours, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!," from GONE WITH THE WIND, Joe E. Brown's "Well, nobody's perfect!" from SOME LIKE IT HOT, among some others, perhaps. But usually it's scenes somewhere in the body of the film that stand out in the long term.

Everyone who's seen it remembers the ending of DARK VICTORY.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 5:30 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I was trying to work out what condition she would have had which required a Neuro-surgeon: and Diabetes, surely, wouldn't have been one of them!!!! LOL

Yesterday I watched some of "Ben Hur" again and that scene where Masala is lying in a broken state, dying, when Juda arrives to see him. John Le Mesurier is fiddling with blankets - or something - and looking 'concerned' but Boyd himself carries the scene with his incredible performance of a dying man hell bent (cough) on revenge. "The race continues". And I didn't hear a single heavenly choir, just the surging strains of Rozsa.

What a composer!!

 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 5:32 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Absolutely. I actually took out the DvD and went to the end. You know, it wasn't hard to remember any of it but when the shot of Davis came on where she's walking past the banister at the top of the stairs, something very deja vu happened right there and then. The shot has a very square aspect to it and the banister is a sharp foreground object Davis traverses from left to right. It's full of linear structure which etches itself into memory a bit more deeply than the rest. Sure, there are closeups of Davis' eyes glazing over that are no less noticeable but something about that image hit me with a thunderous wallop.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 5:36 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I think you're suggesting that the parts are greater than the whole. You're obviously a perceptive and appreciative film-lover!

One thing I noticed about the film - and I adore black and white for film - was it's beautiful lighting, thanks to Ernie (Ernest) Haller. The light falling on the curtains and other background objects was just beautiful. The great Gregg Toland was the most fabulous cinematographer in B&W that I've ever seen, but "Dark Victory" is beautifully lit too.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 3, 2013 - 10:43 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

I think you're suggesting that the parts are greater than the whole. You're obviously a perceptive and appreciative film-lover!

One thing I noticed about the film - and I adore black and white for film - was it's beautiful lighting, thanks to Ernie (Ernest) Haller. The light falling on the curtains and other background objects was just beautiful. The great Gregg Toland was the most fabulous cinematographer in B&W that I've ever seen, but "Dark Victory" is beautifully lit too.


Bette Davis was a powerhouse actress but subtlety was not her strong suit - some of her acclaimed work to me seems overly self-conscious and overdramatic. Some performances hold up better than others . As I recall DARK VICTORY , I liked some scenes while others, as Regie points out, border on camp. I remember especially liking Geraldine Fitzgerald as Judith's best friend - she seems more real than Davis .

I always liked the remake - STOLEN HOURS - more than the original - I know it isnt considered a "classic " like DV . But I thought that Susan Hayward brought more "real" pathos to the leading role and she played the final third in a much more honest manner - but then I always enjoyed SH's work.

 
 Posted:   Aug 4, 2013 - 9:52 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Bette Davis was a powerhouse actress but subtlety was not her strong suit - some of her acclaimed work to me seems overly self-conscious and overdramatic. Some performances hold up better than others . As I recall DARK VICTORY , I liked some scenes while others, as Regie points out, border on camp. I remember especially liking Geraldine Fitzgerald as Judith's best friend - she seems more real than Davis .

Perhaps being the powerhouse actress meant Davis would adjust the 'volume' of her own performance to contrast in such a way as to saturate the scene with her own signature when up against an on-screen competitor - even if the co-actor/actress was not overacting in any way because then she'd come off as wanting in the guise of Bette Davis if her own vast experience told her she was being overshadowed in any given scene when perceived from the audience perspective? She could get away with 'overacting' when it suited her because she simply could. I've seen enough of her films to know and recognise her distinct personal traits and characteristics. Remember the queen from Sleeping Beauty and a certain mirror?

 
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