From her first appearance as Fanny Trellis Skeffington, Bette Davis--never pretty--completely persuades the viewer that she is a great beauty. Claude Rains is patient and endearing as her beleaguered husband. But the movie is simply too long and suffers from seemingly endless repetition of its heavy-handed and offensive message: "A woman is only beautiful when she is loved."
At the end, when Fanny's beauty has at last eroded (due to illness, not a lack of affection from suitors, which seems to be something of a contradiction), she at last finds love for her long-suffering husband. But it's awfully convenient that she develops an appreciation for him only after he is blinded, and cannot what she looks like.
The Holocaust figures briefly but significantly in the movie. Although its horrors are never seen directly, the mention of concentration camps and Nazi brutality is noteworthy in a movie made in 1944. Apparently _somebody_ knew what was happening in Europe, and knew well enough to include it in a movie before the war had ended.