Time: 104 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nominations for Best Actress, Best Score and Best Picture.
It's hard enough to convince people to watch classic films and even harder to recommend they seek out a "woman's picture." However, this is Bette Davis at her most powerful and ravishing best. For this performance she won her fourth Oscar nomination in 5 years. She is cast here as socialite Judy Traherne, a vibrant young woman with a fatal brain tumor. A tough sell from the get go, but her vivacity and determination to beat the odds makes this an enjoyable and heartbreaking story. She, of course, doesn't believe the diagnosis at first, but with her health failing she can't pretend forever.
She is sent to the premiere brain surgeon in the country, played solidly by George Brent, who eventually convinces her to let him operate. While she's under his care, he also manages to fall in love with her. The feeling is mutual, but time is not on Judy's side. After a period of carousing and denial, she finally comes to accept her fate and decides to spend her remaining days with her true love. It sounds depressing, but I assure you, it's truly a powerful story about finding joy in every day.
This is a tour-de-force by Davis with great supporting turns by Brent and Fitzgerald, who plays the best friend a girl could ever have. She's clearly devastated by Judy's fate, but sticks by her to the end, helping her make the best of a clearly awful situation. It's weird to watch Reagan as an actor through he does a fine job here. Despite being about illness and death, the screenplay is infused with wit, charm and romance. If you like movies that make you cry, get out the kleenex because this one is a weeper.