Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Dark Victory (1939) A drama directed by Edmund Goulding and the second film that he and Bette Davis worked together on. They also worked together on That Certain Woman (1937), The Old Maid (1939) and The Great Lie (1941).

Judith Traherne socialite/heiress, who loves fast cars and beautiful horses, is in the prime of her life, when Dr. Frederick Steele her best friend, diagnoses a brain tumor. The doctor tells her secretary that the tumor will slowly kill her.

After learning her fate at a fancy restaurant, Judy announces "I think I'll have a large order of prognosis negative!" What follows next is a life of drunken recklessness. Her horse trainer Michael, who loves her from a far, tells her to get as much out of life as she can.

She marries Steele who is looking for a cure for her illness. As he goes off to a conference in New York, as Judith's eyesight is beginning to fail. Will Steele find a cure in time?

This one one of my favorite Bette Davis movies and a must see for all Bette Davis fans. Humphrey Bogart, does seem a little miscast in his minor role, but it works.  I'm not really a Ronald Reagan movie fan, but.. he was very charming in this film. Please don't forget to have a fresh box of Kleenex on hand.

Dark Victory (1939) Fun facts:

Gloria Swanson had tried and failed to get the movie made a few years earlier.

Greta Garbo was the original choice for Judith Traherne.

Bette Davis said that this was her favorite role to play.

Offscreen, Bette Davis suffered a nervous breakdown during filming as a result of her crumbling marriage to Harmon Nelson. This didn't prevent her from embarking on an affair with co-star George Brent.

This was Bette Davis' third Oscar nomination in five years, and her second of five consecutive nominations.

This was Bette Davis' biggest moneymaker up to that point in her career.

In an interview with Dick Cavett in 1971, Bette Davis said that the movie took four weeks to shoot.

Geraldine Fitzgerald (November 24, 1913 – July 17, 2005). She was a great-aunt of the actress Tara FitzGerald, and a cousin of the British novelist Nevil Shute.

Inspired by her aunt, the actress/director Shelah Richards, Geraldine Fitzgerald began her acting career in 1932 in theatre in Dublin, before moving to London in 1934 to perform in British films. She was thought of as one of the British film industry's most promising young performers and her most successful film of this period was, The Mill on the Floss (1937).

Dark Victory (1939) marked one of Fitzgerald's earliest appearances in American films. Her success led her to America and Broadway in 1938, and while appearing opposite Orson Welles in the Mercury Theatre production of Heartbreak House, she was seen by the film producer Hal B. Wallis who signed her to a seven-year film contract. She received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Isabella Linton in, Wuthering Heights and her role in Dark Victory.

She appeared in, Shining Victory (1941) and Watch on the Rhine (1943)and Wilson (1944). Although she continued to work frequently throughout the 1940s, the quality of her roles diminished and her career began to fade. She returned to Britain to film, So Evil My Love (1948). In 1951 she performed in, The Late Edwina Black before returning to America.

In the 1960s she worked as a character actress in the films: Ten North Frederick (1958), The Pawnbroker (1964) and Rachel, Rachel (1968). Her other films include The Mango Tree (1977) , Arthur (1981), Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988).


  1. Dark Victory is an excellent movie. I wish I knew it was on today, been awhile since I seen it. Glad you enjoyed it though Dawn.

  2. is it just me, or does bogies accent go back and forth, from irish to american?
    Bette is brilliant, she really made her character come alive, and real. Greta Garbo just would of been too much.
    Superb Post. as always :)

  3. Ah, the movie that truly made me a classic movie geek. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Bette liked her own performance as well. She told this story in a documentary about how she couldn't get the grin off her face after she saw a screening on the lot, and she was afraid people would think she was full of herself!

  4. I have seen this movie about 15 times. It never gets old. "Prognosis Negative" is my favorite scene. Bette has some cute clothes in it too!Any movie with George and Bette is good. Bogart was good too.

  5. I am watching this movie at this very moment. Just a terrific movie!

  6. Dawn, Dark Victory is my favorite Bette Davis film. I loved her performance in this one. She wasn't over the top.

  7. Monty, Hopefully, TCM will play it again soon. i will keep a watch for it and post it in the side bar. Sorry you missed it.

    Zoe,Thank you.:)Yes, i did notice a little irish accent. It was not very good, but.. i loved Bogie in spite of it..:I

    Bmadron, Like you, I could watch Dark Victory many times and never tire of it.:)

    Tom, Hey Tom..:)

    KC, I can see why this movie made you a classic movie geek. I think it was a Doris Day movie that made me a classic movie geek.:)

    Princess, Is this the first time you have seen this movie?

  8. Silent, we have simular tastes in music and movies.. i agree she was not over the top. Awesome performance! :)

  9. Nope it is the 2nd time viewing the movie Dawn. It's a good one!

  10. Yeah, who doesn't cry when she sends her husband away, hugs her dogs one last time, and then blindly climbs the stairs. Great last line: "I don't want to be disturbed." Who wouldn't say that if death was going to call?

  11. Kim, i agree... this really is a wonderful movie.

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