Monday, January 4, 2010

Now, Voyager: Romance for the Ages

Hello, everyone! Did you all have a happy New Year's? I hope so. Of course with each new year comes our New Year's "resolutions." I put that in quotes because, as my friend Danielle says, resolutions have become weak statements. They should be called New Year's goals, so that we have a definite end in sight to watch for, hunt for, and finally, conquer or achieve.

So, as one of my New Year's goals, I plan to write about one of my favorite films every week. Each Monday (to help with those Monday blues), I will discuss another movie that I enjoy. There will be some film facts, trivia tidbits, etc. But mainly I will be discussing the joy of watching the film itself. And don't worry, I'm sure to have plenty of movies in my infinite Favs catalog to keep us going through the year.

Movie #1 of the year is the 1942 classic romance "Now, Voyager" starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains. The reason I decided to talk about this movie first is the fact that it has only recently become one of my favorite films. So as a new comer to the list, it seemed appropriate to start out the new year. For a long time, I had avoided this movie due to its immense number of now-cliche scenes and dialogue, much the same way I had avoided "Casablanca." Finally though, thanks to a friend's insistence, I broke down and watched it on TCM Essentials....And I was forever lost to the movie.

Bette Davis plays Charlotte Vale, a Boston spinster (thanks to her mother) who, after a nervous breakdown, gets help from Claude Rains' Dr. Jaquith. He helps transform her into a beautiful person, inside and out. On her first voyage out into the new world in her new form, she meets Jerry (Paul Henreid) and they fall madly in love. Yet due to Jerry's sense of honor toward his troubled wife, the two can never be together.

This is the movie that brings us lines like "Don't let's ask for the moon when we have the stars" and scenes like Henreid lighting 2 cigarettes at once, then giving one to Davis. All classic images and sounds that have been mocked throughout the years. I mean, who wants smoke blown in their face while trying to look romantically into some one's eyes. The thought alone makes me cough. And those lines, so melodramatic in the single form.

However, with the talent of Davis and her chemistry with Henreid, you get lost in their world. Davis fought for this role and thank goodness she did. Even I admit that Davis can be a bit much to watch, over the top in today's form. However, this is one of the true gems in her career, showcasing an amazing talent. "Now, Voyager" even became her biggest box office hit ever. So I dare you to sit down, watch this movie, and not get carried away by her performance. Yes, some parts are still a little melodramatic, but all-in-all, it's a movie that reminds you how strong love can truly be.

(Post-tidbit: Both Rains and Henreid immediately followed this movie with "Casablanca"...literally. Rains finished "Now, Voyager" and started "Casablanca" the following morning.)


  1. Nice work Celluloid Girl! I've never seen this one. Sounds good!

  2. I will have to make the time to see this film. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Nice work Celluloid Girl! I love films! Looking forward to more of your thoughts in 2010 and beyond.

  4. I love this film. Bette Davis is brilliant as Charlotte Vale who falls in love with Jerry. I also love the line at the end and the lighting two cigarettes at once which I think is romantic.