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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...
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There are 4 discs in the collection and each one is a classic.

Dark Victory (1939), The Letter (1940), Now Voyager (1942), Mr Skeffington (1944).

High drama and high jinx abound in this lesson on how an actress could achieve stardom by playing the most unsympathetic female roles. Davis plays the villain brilliantly. There's always that ruthless, feline quality behind her acting and she could steal a scene with a glance at the camera. I'm in heaven when I'm watching these movies and can't recommend them highly enough.

There's a lot of 'bad girl' on show here as Davis takes on some of her most defining roles as "murderess, adulteress, heiress and actress". I always enjoy watching Bette Davis playing the part of an actress - it's just Davis playing Davis - and you get a true glimpse of what was really going on behind the makeup. What a woman!.

Each of the 4 discs has a small copy of the original movie poster inside the front cover and their running times are approx:

DV - 140 mins, TL - 95 mins, NV - 113 mins, MS - 145 mins.

Additional extra content or 'Blazing DVD Extras'; Expert Commentaries, Featurettes, Radio Shows.

Visual quality is every bit as good as though you were watching the movie on regular TV. Audio quality if good enough.

I don't have a complaint and I'm happy to recommend this box set.
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VINE VOICEon 4 October 2005
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. This box starts addressing this and hopefully is the first set of many. This US release includes five of her Oscar-nominated performances: THE LETTER, NOW, VOYAGER, DARK VICTORY, MR SKEFFINGTON and THE STAR. (The UK version, out in August 2005 only has the first four).
It's a pity though that the first three were already available on DVD. For hardcore fans of Miss Davis this is a bit of a lost opportunity, but DARK VICTORY has been restored and is presented in a new edition and with some extras this time around.
THE LETTER (1940) is my favourite of the five 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 include 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. The extras are a trailer and some music cues. 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's approaching 100 years) and a nice featurette.
THE STAR (1952) is perhaps the odd one out. While all the previous four films were made during Davis years at Warners, this one is the beginning of her camp phase, where Baby Jane is queen. It's a fun film to watch, entertaining, but not as great or as inspired as most of the others. The highlight has to be the drunken ride with an Oscar.
Although this is a Region 1 release, I was please to find out that four of the five discs are also Region 2 (NOW, VOYAGER is the exception) and would give me no problem if I ever change my DVD player.
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on 27 November 2011
I was brought up on black and white Bette Davis films and just love them. I had not seen the letter before but really enjoyed it. Now Voyager and Dark Victory all time classic films. Mr Skeffington, i really enjoyed. I had seen it before many years ago as a child but could not remember what it was called, loved it. If you are a lover of the old Bette Davis films you will probilibly know these and will really enjoy them.
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on 24 May 2009
I finally bought Bette Davis' films on DVD and this collection is brilliant value!It includes 4 of her best films,3 are amongst my favourites:Now Voyager contains one of the most Iconic romantic scenes in the history of cinema which involves cigarettes ( very un-PC now!)also Bette Davis' mother in the movie is the one to watch!Dark Victory is a weepie but I love it ( not even Bogart's strange Irish accent spoils it for me!)and Mr.Skeffington is moving and and laugh out loud funny!I intend to buy more collections!The Bette Davis Collection (Now Voyager / The Letter / Dark Victory / Mr Skeffington) [DVD].
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on 6 February 2017
I have only watched one so far 'Mr Skeffington', wow great movie, couldn't keep my eye's off it. It does tend to stick a few times but continues. Love Bette Davis. If this is how actor's end up, I really feel for them. Great Delivery, Good price. A collection to treasure.
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on 18 July 2012
Having been a Bette Davis fan all my long life I was looking forward to viewing these films. Unfortunately in each case my antisipated pleasure was somewhat dampened by the 'Pirate Preview'. I think by now we are only too aware of the extent of the Pirating that goes on and that it is illegal. We don't have to suffer deafening and I do mean deafening, sounds (one cannot call it music) and accompanying threats at the begining of each DVD. I don't pay good money to be preached at and get a headache at the same time. Despite this, I am pleased to say that the attempts to spoil my pleasure at looking and listening to the Movie Queen of her time proved to only momentarily sway my enjoyment of all four of the Movie Collections. Very well priced, delivered before promised, well packed. Would I return to purchase again. Yes, but knowing what I do,(see above)ready with the 'Mute' button.
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on 23 April 2008
Recently I have become a little obsessed with Ms Davis - and rightly so! In these movies she shines - and Now Voyager is just FANTASTIC!

I feel a litle cheated that I missed out on her films during her lifetime (I'm 19), but the movies stand out as beautifully as I can imagine they did on their original release.
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on 15 August 2015
I bought this as a present to cheer my wife up, knowing she'd missed a TV showing of NOW VOYAGER, and I ended up getting hooked on Bette Davis myself! Based on viewing these films, I'd say Miss Davis was a unique talent, an exceptional actress, and refreshingly free of all the cloying, sentimental traits that make most of her contemporaries seem so dated now. She was clearly a strong woman and as such should be highly regarded as a feminist role model a head of her time.
All four films are excellent and display different aspects of Bette Davis' acting skills.
NOW VOYAGER I thought exceptionally good - an engrossing story, with strong characterisation by all of the main players.
DARK VICTORY a strong melodrama in which Bette Davis' character is suffering from a brain tumour
THE LETTER was simply superb - very atmospheric with none of the over-the-top acting by the 1940s cast, and a gripping Somerset Maugham story.
MR SKEFFINGTON is also good - it starts as a comedy of manners, then gradually the plot darkens as characters as the passage of Time and the events of the 1930s in Europe take their toll. (My only criticism is that at 2 hours 20 minutes it's perhaps too long.)
All four films have been superbly remastered, so the picture quality is diamond-sharp.
On all of the films except MR SKEFFINGTON we had to turn the volume up the maximum.
Extremely good value and an eye-opener for me about this versatile film star
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on 29 November 2016
Whatever crap you're consuming culture-wise, STOP! When you die, are you REALLY gonna be glad you watched seventy million hours of TOWIE? (Spoiler: no.) I've got news for you, person of enough taste to ponder buying this. Quit ruminating and seize the day. Enjoy 4 (FOUR!) meaty chunks of prime Bette for around 2.50 each. And don't ask for the moon - you've already got the stars.
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