We appear to be living in a world were appearance is everything; plastic surgery and hair replacement (it's a wig) are becoming the norm - `Brazil' here we come. Although the issue is hurtling along faster than ever it has reared its (plastic) ugly head for decades, as `Mr Skeffington' shows. When will people realise that beauty is only skin deep and that you have to like yourself before anyone else will? Who better to push this positive message than Bette Davies, herself a woman not of `generic' beauty, but fantastic none the less?
Fanny is a flighty young woman who spends her days being admired by a series of young suitors. When her brother gets into financial debt she is forced to marry the rich Jewish business man Mr Skeffington. Whilst married she continues to play with other men's feeling and ignores her husband and later her daughter. What will happen in Mrs Skeffington's future when her youthful looks are no more?
`Mr Skeffington' is classic melodrama and is Davies once more at her best. Reluctant to take the part of a the greatly admired Fanny, Davies is utterly convincing and her class shines through making her more beautiful than a thousand pretty, but bland, actresses. Claude Rains is also great as the stoic Mr Skeffington, bringing dignity to a part that could have come across as weak willed. Davies and Rains worked together several times and their chemistry shows. The plot if a slow burner and it takes a huge build up to the final payoff, but it is worth it. The message the film portrays is as valid today as it was in 1944, if not more so. A classic melodrama.