Charlotte is summoned from her room, where she was carving ivory boxes and smoking cigarettes on the sly. We first see her sensible, dowdy shoe on the stairs before we get a shock.
The next day, and for many days after, Jerry and Charlotte spend time together. Charlotte meets his buddies, one of whom sits beside her on deck and tells her that Jerry’s wife is a terror who makes his life miserable. But Jerry stays with her because of the kids, especially Tina. That’s good to know.
The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Meanwhile, things get real with a passionate declaration from Jerry and stunned tears from Charlotte:
Charlotte's bottled-up nerves burst forth in convulsive sobs at the rainy window. In near collapse with her back turned, she begs the doctor to help her: "Dr. Jaquith, can you help me?...When you were talking downstairs, when you were talking about the fork in the road, there are other forks further along the road, so many."
I had read that part in novels, about men not liking girls to be prudes. That's all I had to go by - novels. Leslie told me he'd rather have me than any girl on board or any girl he'd ever known because I was so responsive. He said that the others were like silly schoolgirls compared to my lovemaking.
That evening, Jerry and Charlotte find a quiet room for a chat. But first, they need their cigs!
Thank you! Rains is great in this role, and I can see Charlotte being very happy with him! Thanks for stopping by!
And then it all makes more sense. That evening, he writes Tina a letter:
On shipboard, her cruel and haughty dowager mother insists that Charlotte wear her spectacles and not read unapproved books, and further criticizes her vibrant daughter for desiring to take a shore trip with other "typical American" tourists. The commentary continues - during a sequence in which the ship's Captain (Lester Matthews) - holding a flashlight - prowls the deck with Mrs. Vale and locates Charlotte in an amorous embrace with Leslie:
She and Jerry chat as though they are the merest of acquaintances, but they’re still in love, darn it. You can watch the scene here.
Charlotte is deflated after her chat with her monstrous mother. How can she maintain her newfound mental health and habits if her mother insists on treating her as she always has? Just when she really, really needs a boost, one arrives in a plain box. Inside is a trio of glorious camellias (a reference to her pet name Camille) from Jerry. And Charlotte is reminded that she is loved and wanted.
Divorce somehow remains utterly out of the question, but the two re-pledge their love to one another. They discuss what to do about Tina, and Charlotte says she wants her to stay in Boston. At first Jerry protests against Charlotte sacrificing her own life like this for Tina, but then he agrees to the plan.
My favorite is the “moon and star” cigarette scene. Very sexy!
...romantic and romanticized, sudsy and sentimental...a throwback to an earlier age in Hollywood when movies didn't have to be loud or vulgar to sell a point.
Fun fact: Henreid was born Paul Georg Julius Freiherr von Hernried Ritter von Wassel-Waldingau, but he went by Paul von Hernried as an actor in Europe. When he emigrated to the United States and got a contract with RKO, the studio recommended that he drop the “von” and change the spelling in his last name, which is how he got to Paul Henreid.
Mrs. Vale is a scary, tyrannical woman who has run Charlotte’s life (into the ground.) She is an exaggerated, Freudian example of “Momism,” a term coined that year in Philip Wylie’s book A Generation of Vipers. Wylie nastily claims that mothers who exert too much power, and make their children too dependent upon them, turn their kids into immature, utterly dependent losers. Like Charlotte.
Fun fact: In Claude Rains: An Actor’s Voice, author David Skal writes that at first, Rains wasn’t crazy about making this movie because the part of Dr. Jaquith was very small. He actually turned it down until screenwriter Casey Robinson re-wrote it, boosting the psychiatrist’s role and tailoring it to Rains. Rains was paid $5,000 a week for six weeks, though the shooting went badly over schedule and almost kept Rains from his next movie, a little film called Casablanca (115).
But Jerry is sweet about it, and, after all, it’s not the first odd thing he’s noticed about Charlotte. She calls herself a spinster aunt and seems prickly and unused to positive attention.
(Charlotte, in voice-over) I had said I was glad, and I was glad. He had defied my mother and placed me on a throne - and before a witness too. It was the proudest moment of my life. My moment didn't last long, as you can see. My mother didn't think that Leslie was suitable for a Vale of Boston.
Just watched 2 stupid modern movies recently, Gone girl and Wedding crashers, vulgur and lewd, nothing with any depth and feeling like Now Voyager and other classics from the old days, Something is missing from movies these days
Fun fact: due to bad weather on location, illness, and Davis’ meticulous pace, the film ran over schedule. This forced changes in Casablanca‘s shooting schedule, as that film was waiting on Henreid and Rains to finish Now, Voyager.
Now, Voyager is a 1942 American drama film starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains, and directed by Irving Rapper. The screenplay by Casey Robinson is based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Olive Higgins Prouty.
A superlative, juicy mother-daughter melodrama with top notch performance from Bette Davis, at the top of her form, and the rest of the cast.
Thank you for this comment! This is a tremendous movie. I agree–Steiner is one of the greatest! Thanks for reading!
As composer Max Steiner‘s love theme surges in the background, Jerry puts two cigarettes in his mouth, lights them, and hands one to Charlotte. It’s sexy but also quite perfect because remember how Charlotte used to hide her smoking? Now a handsome man who is in love with her is helping her smoke! She’s come a long way!
Now Voyager (1942)
Charlotte’s brothers are shocked to see their sister:
Charlotte just shakes her head as she fights tears. She tells him that she’s been ill and maybe isn’t quite well yet, and shows him a picture of her family. He points out the “fat lady with the heavy brows and all the hair,” not realizing it’s Charlotte. She sets him straight.
Rains and Davis are great together. This was their second film; they’d worked together in Juarez (1939), and would be re-teamed in Mr. Skeffington (1944) and Deception (1946). Davis would later say that Rains was her favorite co-star.
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Then Jerry boards his train, and Charlotte watches him go, mascara smudged and camellias smooshed.
Directed by Irving Rapper, its screenplay by Casey Robinson was based on the 1941 novel by Olive Higgins Prouty (who also wrote Stella Dallas). Max Steiner provides the lush, romanticized, Academy Award-winning score for the film that was nominated for a total of three Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Bette Davis) and Best Supporting Actress (Gladys Cooper), with Steiner's nomination as the sole win (his second Oscar).
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Fun fact: Davis got really into this role and was extremely meticulous about her performance. She worked closely with costume designer Orry-Kelly and her hair and makeup personnel to get the right look for Charlotte.
As in the first section of the film, Charlotte is first discussed before being introduced. A closeup of her hands reveals that she is operating a weaving loom and that she has lost some weight and wears a less-severe hair-do. Dr. Jaquith removes Charlotte's unneeded glasses from her nose and snaps them in two:
Lisa and Charlotte have thought of everything to ensure an easy, stylish sailing!
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But Davis wasn’t Wallis’ first choice to play Charlotte Vale; Irene Dunne was Wallis’ pick, but Norma Shearer was also in the running. When Dunne and Shearer became involved in other projects, Wallis thought about Ginger Rogers for the role. But Davis heard about the project, campaigned for it, and eventually was cast.
But she still wears Jerry’s camellias, and leaves the roses that Elliot sends her at home.
Fun fact: Bonita Granville played Nancy Drew in four films in 1938-1939. Another fun fact: Davis later said that Granville was the only actor who was rude to her when they were making this movie. Which is pretty ironic, and pretty stupid on Granville’s part.