U.S.A.| 1944. BLACK AND WHITE. 145 MIN.

‘Fanny Skeffington was a beauty, which was a problem,’ wrote Bette Davis with characteristic candour in her autobiography. Nevertheless, Davis’s magnetism has a beauty of its own and she gives a powerful portrayal of a vain woman who marries a Wall Street tycoon (Claude Rains) for his money and for a time treats him with contempt. However, when diphtheria ravages her looks, she will reform; in the meantime, her husband, after incarceration in a concentration camp in Europe, has gone blind and can only remember her as she looked when young.

Mr. Skeffington has fine production values and a literate script, but its main strength is the two leading performances. Claude Rains was always one of Davis’s favourite co-stars, and they both deserved their Oscar nominations—incredibly, Davis’s sixth in seven years.


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