Dark Victory

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Bette Davis sickens and dies. Beautifully.

SPOILER ALERT…not for this movie, but for the John Travolta movie Phenomenon.

Okay, so this was not a good movie to watch at the Red Cross while doing apheresis…even though it is silly and predictable (I’m sure the description was not a spoiler to anyone, right?), it’s still tears-in-the-eyes time for this ol’ Otter, and when you’ve got a needle in each arm, there really isn’t much you can do about that. (Note to self: stick to comedies and explodos at the Red Cross from now on.)

So anyway. Great cast: Bette Davis as the young beautiful socialite who dies of something unspecified in her brain (and we’ll come back to this later). Serious Honey George Brent as the doctor who tries to save her. Ronald Reagan as the alcoholic ne’er-do-well society boy who wants to marry her. AND (added bonus) Serious Honey Humphrey Bogart as (get this) the Irish stable manager who is also in love with her, with an accent that is almost an embarrassment. But he’s honeylicious, so it is forgiveable.

The story is a deliberate tearjerker: she’s young, rich and beautiful and wants to live. Evidently Jack Warner thought nobody would pay to see something so depressing, and of course it turned out to be one of Davis’ most famous films.

BUT. I really hate the whole genre of ‘have a horrible disease and die beautifully’ films. I saw Phenomenon when it came out, and it made me so angry and sad I actually had to leave the theater. He gets smarter, and you think it’s alien contact…but NO. He’s dying of a brain tumor, and of course dies nobly and beautifully. And having just gone through that hell with a dear friend…I hated that movie.

I’m far enough removed from that awful time, and this movie is not misleading (except for the beautiful death part), so it didn’t make me mad; I knew what I was signing up for, and it really was well done in many ways.

So if tearjerkers are what you like, this is a good one with a good cast. Me? I’m off to see another explodo, thanks. Or something funny. Want to join me?

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