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Bette Davis stars in one of her most prolific roles in a period drama as Charlotte Lovell, a sincere and warm young woman who secretly gives birth to a child outside of wedlock to Clem Spender, a Lieutenant about go off to fight in the American Civil War whom her cousin Delia was once madly in love with. Clem unfortunately dies in the battlefield, leaving Charlotte to raise her daughter Tina on her own whilst running a Nursery for War Orphans where she can hide Tina so cleverly, that not even Delia realises the truth.

Before her wedding to Delia's brother-in-law Joe, Charlotte confesses the truth about Tina, prompting Delia to get involved in preventing the wedding from ever taking place. After Delia's husband Jim dies leaving her with a massive mansion with three young children, she invites Charlotte and Tina to move in, even offering to take Tina under her wing. Tina, being so young and unaware of her true relationship to Charlotte, somehow finds a mother in Delia, even calling her mummy, and just like her cousins, begins to refer to her true mother as "Aunt Charlotte".

But as Tina begins to grow up, becoming spoiled and increasingly attached to Delia, Charlotte begins to feel more and more distant from her, leaning towards a more stern and cold authority figure rather than the mother she really longs to be.

I'm not a huge fan of Bette Davis or her movies, but this one really caught me off guard; I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish and despite it being mostly a dialogue driven piece, it was quite gripping and engaging. At more than one point, I also had to dab at my eyes with a tissue for some truly heartbreaking scenes that were brilliantly acted.

I honestly did NOT expect to love this film so much, and I'm sure many people who enjoy a nice innocent and heart-felt story from an old classic black and white, are going to love it too.
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on 13 October 2010
If you consider the great films starring Bette Davis you think `All About Eve' or `Now Voyager', one film that I had never heard of was `The Old Maid' and until I saw it I did not realise it was at least on a par with the best of her work. Davis stars as Charlotte a naïve woman who falls for the man her cousin Delia has shunned. He dies during the American Civil War, but not before leaving Charlotte pregnant and unwed. What follows is the next 20 years of Charlotte's life and how it intertwines with the successful Delia. Can these two women, once the best of friends, ever truly get along again?

`The Old Maid' is what is known as an old fashioned `women's picture', as it has an almost exclusive female cast with female issues. However, as a bloke I found the film truly compelling. There are no good characters or bad characters, just fate and flaws. Director Edmund Goulding suitably balances your allegiances to both Delia and Charlotte, one minute taking one characters side, the next the other. What this leads to is some of the most powerful angst I have felt in a long time from a film. The mid to late 19th Century setting means that the situations the characters get themselves into feel truthful; the film would not have worked if made today, or even to an extent, when the film was shot in the late 1930s.

As always Davis is a compelling lead, she is able to switch from naïve innocent to hard done Aunt with effortless ease. Miriam Hopkins is also superb as Delia, a character that could have been unsympathetic, but in many ways she becomes the real heroine of the piece. Director Goulding does a great job of putting the excellent script onto the screen and the recent conversion is a crystal clear one that has an added extra of recreating the full 1930s cinema going experience by putting film shorts and cartoons on before the film, if you wish to see them.

`The Old Maid' is a film that not only holds up for fans of black and white picture or Bette Davis fans, but any lover of a good story and brilliant actresses.

Sammy Recommendation
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on 5 March 2014
Well, what can I say, this is an all time favourite of mine, when I found it on D.V.D. I just had to have it, I love Bette Davis films, don't think she ever made a bad one, I always cry at this one, gets me every time...
Great film, great actress, great service from Amazon..as always!
Chrissie
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on 22 November 2013
Love films that have a story, and this one has. You laugh when they do and cry when they do.
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on 22 November 2012
I purchased this film a few weeks ago, but have just sat and watched it with my partner, i loved it. I love bette davis it was a great. my sister has just bought me whatever happended to baby jane, i have not seen this film in years looking forward to watching it.
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on 5 March 2013
This is a great product was very promptly delivered and well packaged. quality good and great film, very pleased with this purchased
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on 24 April 2011
Bought for my mother who likes Bette Davis and used to watch her films when she was younger ( which was quite some time ago ). She seems to enjoy it.
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on 15 July 2014
Lovers of Bette Davis films will not be disappointed. If you like " Now Voyager" you will love this. What more can I say.
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on 5 January 2015
No problem with DVD or film but arrived in the slim line DVD case not the regular size case so made the item look like a cheep copy !
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on 5 April 2016
Been looking for this film for years. Fantastic. No Bette Davis fan should be without it.
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