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Dark Victory

Bette Davis , George Brent , Edmund Goulding    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 24.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Critic Pauline Kael called this shamelessly enjoyable, vintage Bette Davis weepie a "kitsch classic" and time hasn't diminished its ability to give the tear ducts a good flushing. Davis plays a swinging socialite, living the fast life of booze, smokes and--with the help of Humphrey Bogart as her Irish stableman--raising thoroughbred horses. When a brain tumour starts giving her headaches and eroding her vision, she falls in love with her surgeon (George Brent), who grows more determined than ever to cure her. Davis gives one of her most vibrant performances and her costars also include Ronald Reagan and Geraldine Fitzgerald. The film received Oscar nominations for best picture, best actress and for Max Steiner's score. --Jim Emerson

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Most helpful customer reviews
By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "DARK VICTORY" (1944) (104 min/B&W) -- Starring: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ronald Reagan, Henry Travers, Cora Witherspoon, Dorothy Peterson, Virginia Brissac, Charles Richman

Directed by Edmund Goulding

A quote from Bette Davis in her finest hour in "Dark Victory" -- "Nothing can hurt us now. What we have can't be destroyed. That's our victory - our victory over the dark. It is a victory because we're not afraid".

An actress who was at the top of her game at the time of the release of this film, Bette Davis displays a marvelous gamut of emotions which layer her facial features and body language. Geraldine Fitzgerald, playing her friend and secretary Ann, is equally understated but moving as the one who stays by Judith's side

Swept into the current of events was Bogart playing an Irish horse trainer, who fails in an attempt to make love to her, yet encourages her to enjoy her time with her true love, George Brent.

Davis provides scene after scene with the special magic only she was able of bringing vividly to the screen.

This without a doubt one of the finest films of Bette Davis career, heart-wrenching, with her skill evident in every scene she's in. With an able supporting cast, especially by Geraldine Fitzgerald and George Brent, and a fine Max Steiner score, films don't get much better than that. I loved the scene where she orders "prognosis negative" in a restaurant just to let Brent and Fitzgerald know that she knows she's been lied to about her condition - what a show stopper that is.

Nominated Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Bette Davis), Best Music, Original Score (Max Steiner), Best Picture (Warner Bros. and First National).
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4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm young and strong and nothing can touch me." Oct. 15 2010
Judith Traherne (Bette Davis) is a self-absorbed socialite who dabbles in horses. When a surgeon (George Brent) discovers she has inoperable cancer, he opts not to tell her. Judith and the doctor fall in love and plan to marry, but his secret weighs heavily on his heart.

This movie was a huge hit in 1939 and became the basis for countless clichéd, dying-but-brave-heroine stories. Davis is excellent as she evolves from snooty brat to sensitive wife and oozes screen charisma. The same cannot be said, unfortunately, for her costars: Brent is dull and lifeless and the two share no romantic chemistry, Humphrey Bogart is miscast as a humble, Irish stableman, and a boyish Ronald Reagan looks out of place as a rich playboy.

Courage in the face of impending doom is a heart-tugging theme and Bette is superb, but the script is firmly set in the thirties with overly-melodramatic acting and music. 3.5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic, Sorry DVD! Feb. 2 2004
When you see grade z movies being issued with beautiful transfers and 1 to 2 extra discs of extras, you would think one of the great screen classics would receive similar respect. No way. I was appalled by the dismal, speckled, grainy pictute you receive on this lousy DVD. "Dark Victory" was among the five pictures in l939 nominated by the Academy Award as The Best. Not only was it nominated for best musical score by the great Max Steiner, but its luscious black and white photography was also up for Best of the Year. My VHS tape of this classic shows a beautiful black and white beauty. Whoever was responsible for approving this truly dismal disc of one of Hollywood's greatest classics should be fired. And oh yeah, as for great extras, you do actually get one tiny little preview. This shows you what type of respect the creators of this DVD had for this masterpiece, starring America's greatest movie actress!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performances rise above the soapiness Oct. 21 2003
"Dark Victory" stars the legendary Bette Davis as wealthy socialite Judith Traherne. She leads a life of non-stop fun and partying until a life-threatening disease begins to affect her. The supporting cast includes George Brent as surgeon Frederick Steele and Humphrey Bogart as Judith's horse trainer.
The film has a "soap opera" feeling throughout, and I found some of the plot elements to be hard to believe. But aside from those flaws, this is one classic film that is still compelling and entertaining. Davis is the center of the film, and her performance is wonderful. She brings fire and strength, as well as vulnerability and serenity, to this memorable character. The supporting cast is up to the high standard set by Davis. It's particularly fun to see a young Ronald Reagan as one of Judith's party set. Unfortunately, Bogart's character seems to be neglected by the time the film is over.
The opulent set and costume design make the film a real pleasure to watch, and are superbly enhanced by the film's glorious black-and-white cinematography. Max Steiner's appropriately melodramatic musical score also fits well into the mix. If you love classic movies, I recommend this film highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Bette Davis vehicle Dec 24 2002
"Dark Victory" is atypical for a Hollywood movie made in 1939 [or for that matter, for one made today] because it deals with terminal illness and it doesn't have a happy ending. The medical profession back then was less honest about the subject. A common procedure was to assure the patient that they were doing fine, even when the prognosis was negative. This deceptive practice and other factors date the movie, but Bette Davis' stunning performance as Judith Traherne always has and always will define the movie. For that reason alone, it is still eminently watchable.
Judith is a vivacious, carefree member of Long Island society. Her passions are parties, her friends and her horses. After being thrown from her favorite horse, she admits to her best friend, Ann [Geraldine Fitzgerald] that the cause of the accident was a sudden blurring of her vision. This, she admits, is not the first time she's had this problem. After much cajoling of the stubborn, frightened Judith, Ann gets her to a specialist, Dr. Frederick Steel [George Brent], who diagnosis her as having a rare illness. An operation, which is unsuccessful, ensues, but the truth is withheld from Judith. During all this, patient and doctor fall in love with each other. Both the illness and Steel's well intended but deceitful way of dealing with it led to serious complications.
Fitzgerald is excellent as Ann, George Brent [a matinee idol in his time] is adequate, but Humphrey Bogart, whose stardom was sill several years away, is wasted as Michael, Judith's horse trainer. His Irish accent is not at all good. You'll hardly notice, though, because your thoughts and eyes will always be on Davis. She displays virtually every human emotion, seemingly without effort. One of her great scenes is the one in which Dr.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Bette Davis' greatest performances
"Dark Victory" is atypical for a Hollywood movie made in 1939 [or for that matter, for one made today] because it deals with terminal illness and it doesn't have a happy ending. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars BETTE'S PERSONAL FAVOURITE.
Davis performances don't get any better than her classic portrayal of Judy Traherne, the lively, irresponsible 23 year-old Long Island heiress who finds inner peace before her... Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2002 by "scotsladdie"
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Victory: Bette Sees With Blinding Eyes
Bette Davis's career was built on two types of roles: the 'serious' actress of films like THE PETRIFIED FOREST, where she tends to radiate emotion within a tightly focused... Read more
Published on July 23 2002 by Martin Asiner
5.0 out of 5 stars One of her most lovely
Bette looks gorgeous and will make you cry and smile. This film is great. I had no idea what all the fuss about her was til I saw this film. Read more
Published on July 12 2002 by Raechel Reiter
1.0 out of 5 stars Hilariously bad
This is one movie that plays like a Carol Burnett sketch from start to finish. The climax, where Davis tries to hide her blindness from her husband, had me cramping up from... Read more
Published on March 27 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pure Classic
One of my very favorites of Bette's films. When the movie begins she is so self absorbed, as are the people she surrounded herself with. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2001 by M. Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Drama
THe title gave me an impression of some type of war movie. Truly Davis's character has adversity that strikes at the core of emotion. Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2001 by John D. Hernandez Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its Time
This could have been just another Hollywood tearjerker but thanks to good direction and realistic performances by Bette Davis and George Brent this turns out to be a very emotional... Read more
Published on July 5 2001 by hille2000
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