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You won't be able to take your eyes out of her
on 27 June 2006
Bette Davis is one of my favourite screen actresses. She has a presence that very few actresses before or after had. Once she's on screen you can't take her eyes out of her. Whether she's being subtle or overtly camp (even if she doesn't know) she's pretty amazing. She's still very popular, and it's strange how an actress with such a following and so many great films can be so under represented on DVD in Region 2 (Region 1 has finally addressing that). This UK release includes four of her Oscar-nominated performances: THE LETTER, NOW, VOYAGER, DARK VICTORY and MR SKEFFINGTON. (It was originally released as an exlusive to another retailer about a year ago.)
THE LETTER (1940) is my favourite of the four and it tells the story of a woman who murders a man who she claims tried to rape her. However, a letter surfaces claiming something else. The extras are the trailer and an alternative ending, but as my personal favourite I wish that there were far more (a commentary and a featurette would be so nice).
NOW, VOYAGER (1942) is one of the great melodramas of the 1940s, about a woman who learns how to face her mother and the world with the help of psychiatrist (Claude Rains) and a platonic love affair with a married man (Paul Henreid).Among other things is now famous for the cigarette trick that Henreid performs and the film last line. Sadly, the only extra is the trailer. Again, they could have put something else here. This is one of her best-loved films and won't disappoint.
DARK VOYAGER (1939) is one of her most famous and well-liked of her films. It's my least favourite of the five. It's the story of an heiress with the terminal disease - and death never looked this good. But it's implausible and the symptoms were created to give Bette Davis a wonderful acting opportunity. Extras include a commentary and a featurette. Not really a favourite, although it has good moments.
MR SKEFFINGTON (1944) pairs her again with Claude Rains. I had never seen this one before and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It's a very good film, full of wonderful one-liners, telling the story of Fanny Skeffington the most beautiful woman in New York. The DVD includes an audio commentary by the director (who recently passed away) and a nice featurette.
It's just a pity that one of the films is lost from the Region 1 release...