“I can’t imagine not waiting forever.”
When her cousin (Miriam Hopkins) marries a wealthy man (James Stephenson) rather than waiting for her fiance (George Brent) to return home, Charlotte (Bette Davis) — who’s loved Brent all her life — has an affair with him before he heads to the Civil War and is killed. Davis secretly gives birth to a girl named Tina (Marlene Burnett), whose identity she conceals by managing an orphanage. When Hopkins learns the truth about Tina, she prevents Davis from marriage with her husband’s brother (Jerome Cowan), and convinces Davis to let her adopt the girl — but soon Davis’s resentment begins to build, especially as grown Tina (Jane Bryan) cares more for Hopkins than her strict “Aunt Charlotte”.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bette Davis Films
- Donald Crisp Films
- Edmund Goulding Films
- George Brent Films
- Miriam Hopkins Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Suffering Mothers
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “standard Victorian soap opera about unrequited love, sexual frustration, female rivalry, class obligations, and other sacrifices” benefits — “it goes without saying” — “from the casting of the two classy stars”. He notes that while he wishes “the two would have at least one hysterical screaming session” — and that “Davis in particular is just too restrained” — it’s fun watching Davis “young, in hoop dress and blond curls:
and old in her severe old-maid hairstyle”. (I’m not quite sure why he refers to this as fun, other than comparing how Davis aged in real life with how she’s “cinemagically” aged here.) Peary adds that “you’ll smile watching the two females resolve their problems”:
… and it’s true that the “final few scenes — for which you should have your hankies handy”, are touching. However, this dated “suffering mama” story — based on a novella by Edith Wharton, which was turned into a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Zoe Akins — is only must-see for fans of Davis and/or Hopkins (whose performance is refreshingly restrained).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Bette Davis as “Aunt Charlotte”
- Tony Gaudio’s cinematography
No, but it’s worth a look.