Guilty Pleasures Film Festival 2013

“Now, Voyager”

Paul Henreid and Bette Davis in "Now Voyager" (Warner Bros., 1942)

Paul Henreid and Bette Davis in “Now Voyager” (Warner Bros., 1942)

A personal favorite is Warner Bros.’ 1942 melodrama “Now, Voyager.” The film’s title comes from the Walt Whitman poem “The Untold Want”:

The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.

The main voyager in the film is Charlotte Vale (played by Bette Davis in one of her best roles), a repressed spinster who is struggling under the tyrannical rule of a cruel and overbearing mother. After a nice relative gets Charlotte some psychiatric help from the kind and wise Dr. Jaquith (played by Claude Rains), she goes on a South American cruise and meets and falls in love with Jerry (played by Paul Henreid), who is struggling with some big issues of his own. While the plot is a bit soap opera-ish, Charlotte’s transformation, how she deals with her newfound independence, and how she ultimately shows her love for Jerry make this a really wonderful film. Written by Casey Robinson. Based on the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty. Directed by Irving Rapper. “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.”