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Mr Skeffington vs Now Voyager


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The Davis character in each film begins at opposing ends of the spectrum.


In Skeffington, she's an self-centered. spoiled, user; the center of her universe. Even her professed love for Trippy is a sham. She succeeds on her looks and her alpha personality.

But, time marches on, and with it wisdom slowly arrives at Fanny's doorstep...in the form of her cast aside ex-husband, Job, now blind and broke. Job sees her as he last saw her, Fanny sees Job as thre treasure he always was...and someone to care for (her alpha personality still needs to command) Finally, they meet on common ground.


In Voyager, she's a repressed, over weight, middle aged spinster, still living with her mother, and slowly being driven mad by her mother's thinly veiled loathing. A kindly sister-in-law and a savy doctor begin to put things right, and slowly she emerges out of the darkness, a renewed and remade woman. For the first time in her life, she "isn't afraid"

On a sea voyage, she meets and falls in love with a married man who has a troubled pre-teen daughter . Charlotte sees herself in this girl and makes it her business to win her trust, and allow her the respect that she was never afforded.

The film ends with Jerry and Carlotte toasting their sterile love with a cigarette, happy for what they are helpless to change. That little strip of land that's theirs alone.


Therefore, it's difficult to choose between the two, which is the best. But if put on the spot, I'd have to say NOW VOYAGER because there are many more life lessons in it . It speaks to human dignity.

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I like Skeffington much better. I could never quite buy the personality change in Voyager. Her character in Skef was more believable, if perhaps less likable. Skeffington had a better screenplay IMO, very sharp dialogue at times (with the help of Dorothy Parker). The dinner scene with Rains and the daughter always comes to mind when I think of this film. Skef is clearer in my mind though, I could stand another viewing of Voyager. True, Davis really gets to act the gamut in that one.

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I was just writing about Bette Davis films over in Hot Topics on the "good older films coming up" thread and I mentioned that *Now Voyager* just nudges out *All About Eve* as my favorite Bette Davis film. So yes I would pick it over *Mr. Skeffington.*


I really like both films very much. The reason I pick *Now Voyager* is simply because it touches me on a personal level. Maybe it's the shameless romantic in me. I guess I'm just a hopeless sap but I bought it all lock, stock and barrel and just went with it. It really is a magical movie for me.


*Mr. Skeffington* is a wonderful film and one of my favorite Bette Davis roles but if I have to choose, and that's what your asking me to do, I'll choose *Now Voyager.*

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Hi Molo,


Thanks for your notice about the *Bette Davis movies tomorrow morning*.


I don?t care for ?Mr. Skeffington?. Ms Davis? character irritates me in that film.


My favorite of hers is The Petrified Forest. She is so cute and is such a good actress:



*CABIN IN THE COTTON* is showing early tomorrow morning:


Pacific: 3 AM, Mountain: 4 AM, Central: 5 AM, Eastern: 6 AM


*THE PETRIFIED FOREST* is showing early tomorrow morning:


Pacific: 4:30 AM, Mountain: 5:30 AM, Central: 6:30 AM, Eastern: 7:30 AM

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You give us hard choices, Triple... However, if I had to choose, I would say

"Mrs. Skeffington".

"Now, Voyager" is excellent. The great Gladys Cooper!


And, of course, Claude Raines, is beyond compare in everything he does.

I liked him a teensy bit better in Mrs. S. Meatier roll, I guess.


Message was edited by: Bargar

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i have always complimented u on your threads as im sure i will in the future....but truly man do u actually think this one ppl can make a honest choice....lol....what im saying is BOTH!!! My gosh both not only great performances by Ms.Davis and every1 in the cast...BUT both movies equally good!! So here u have the whole picture..heehee..(no punt intended) on both..almost impossible to choose one to the other....but i have to say I LOOOOVE Mr.Skeffington...my god in the end i cry every time ive seen it....lol..every time!


Thank u again TripleHHH for yuor thread!


AvaG!! ;-)

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Hi Ava

Thanks for your compliments on my threads. I did a few over the past day and a half as I finally had some time to think of some hopefully new or at least different subject. Nice to be appreciated like that

That being said

Pick one ! :)

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heehee....i told u hun I CANT...lol..ok..ok....


Mr.Skeffington i have to say...i just thought the movie and HER acting in it....just amazing again as ive always said i prefer to have the BIG picture..everything has to match!


So there ya go TripleHHH..my pick..


AvaG ;-)

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Another appealing comparison. Two great Bette Davis classics describing evolution in two women. One a journey from beauty to hag, and the other a passage from dull to chic. No question for me. ?Now Voyager? comes out on top. Mostly because Bette Davis accomplishes the transition more deftly and more believably, and has the help of that superb Max Steiner score.


It is an outstanding achievement for Bette Davis. As Charlotte Vale she runs the acting gamut from an unattractive mousey spinster to a stunning charming sophisticate. What a tour de force.


However, in my opinion, ?Mr. Skeffington? is a disturbing vehicle. It certainly is an opportunity to appreciate those Bette Davis eyes, but as the movie progresses, I feel makeup triumphs over acting skills. The similarity between reel and real life is disconcerting. The transition is less deft and less believable.


Again you compare two movies that allow us to recognize the skills of a great actor. ?Mr. Skeffington? is an opportunity to see Claude Rains, who should have given master classes in acting, rise to great heights in depicting a kind, caring, loving husband, driven to overlooking his wife?s transgressions, and transferring a great part of that love to his daughter. Isn?t it true that Claude Rains is playing the same part, a character hopelessly trapped in a loveless marriage, that he played two years later in ?Notorious?? He does it in different circumstances, still he manages to accomplish it so convincingly.


And in his portrayal of the psychiatrist in ?Now Voyager?, he glides through his role effortlessly, and with a style that lends distinction to a profession then in its infancy. In his polished depiction of the sympathetic therapist with an engaging bedside manner, he also engages us to the point that we are riveted on him whenever he is on screen. And this in the presence of that great actress is no mean feat!


--Gus Cerini

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is much easier for me: *Now, Voyager*. Even though Julius and Phillip Epstein are my favorite screenwriters from the era, and they wrote *Mr Skeffington*, I still love *Now, Voyager* more and I find the story more compelling and Bette's performance up there with *The Letter*. The best part of *Mr Skeffington* is the final scene when Fanny says "A woman is beautiful when she is loved" Lovely.


But *Now, Voyager* has so much more going for it with me. Charlotte's (Bette's) transformation, and the whole idea of a woman who is transformed and her self-actualization and is it motivated by the love of a married man, Gerry Dorrance (Paul Henried)? She finds freedom from convention and while its convienent she is wealthy, Charlotte's character grows in ways we don't expect. She does make an effort to be conventional, but she comes to the conclusion that she must remain true to herself, and so she takes the road less travelled. And the story is written so terrifically, we find ourselves cheering for Charlotte and Gerry in the end. It is a story to open your eyes about people and how they see themselves inside. Don't let Charlotte's transformed outward beauty and allure fool you. It's just the outward manifestation of the way she changing on the inside. Thanks for the question, Triple HHH. :-)

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