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Mr. Skeffington (DVD)
Fanny Skeffington, an incorrigible society flirt of the WWI era, was one of the meatiest roles and most exasperating women Bette Davis ever played. Flighty Fanny loves the attention of her male suitors, but marries the steadfast Jewish financier Job Skeffington (Claude Rains) for security; long after their wedding day, she still enjoys receiving gentlemen callers. Time catches up with Fanny, of course, and the bills are due by the time World War II rolls around.
Mr. Skeffington is a vintage Warner Bros. workout for Davis, who never shied away from playing unsympathetic or physically unappealing roles. (Her main worry here was looking pretty enough in the early reels to justify Fanny's reputation.) Her theatrical performance and Rains's impeccable work carry the handsomely dressed story through its many melodramatic shifts. The dialogue by Julius and Philip Epstein (who were doing Casablanca around this time) has the sprung rhythm of screwball comedy, although director Vincent Sherman and the cast don't always seem to have noticed this. There's also the growing issue of anti-Semitism--a subject rare in Hollywood prior to this--especially as it concerns Fanny and Job's daughter. But mostly the film has Bette Davis, who strides headfirst into the gray areas (her indifferent treatment of her daughter is especially unappetizing), a fearless attitude that looks like the polar opposite of Fanny Skeffington's vanity. --Robert Horton
This is a good old movie, in black and white. Bette Davis is very good as Mrs. Skeffington. She is incredibly beautiful and men are flocking all around her continually, but this... Read morePublished 21 months ago by caseygirl
this is basically a soap opera and the divine bitchy ms davis as usual plays the divine bitchy ms davis. Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by ageofanxiety
Whether you are going to enjoy or get into this film depends on a few factors. First of all, you must believe that every man is tripping over himself to win the hand of the woman... Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2003 by James L.
A pre World War I society beauty, self absorbed and shallow Fanny Trellis (Bette Davis), enjoys being besieged by besotted suitors. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2001 by lawyeraau
A lengthy, classy, highly enjoyable soap opera of the first calibre. Bette Davis was indeed a phenomenal performer! Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2001
watching this movie i expected a five star rating (at least!) for such a distingushed cast, but instead its a jumble of bad story lines mixed into one. Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2001 by patrick butler
I am a big fan of Bette Davis films,and this in my opinion is one of her best. She gives a wonderful and memorable performance. Read morePublished on July 22 2001 by Rosella Ann Myles
Bette Davis shines in this movie, which in my opinion is the greatest work that she has ever done. She plays a great roll, the whole way through, while never letting her audience... Read morePublished on June 4 2001 by Mr. X