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Monday, May 26, 2008

OLD ACQUAINTANCE (1943)


Bette Davis & Miriam Hopkins tear things up over two decades in this alarmingly watchable dramedy. They’re best friends for life who basically loath each other. And rivals as authors (Hopkins with bestselling trash & Davis with acclaimed doorstops); as lovers (Hopkins’ John Loder wants to run off with Davis); and even as mothers (Hopkins’ awful girl prefers the childless Davis). Helmer Vincent Sherman hasn’t much finesse, but he keeps things moving which does wonders for the genre. As the comic terror wife/mother/author, Hopkins’ work is very broad (which is fine) & very fussy (which ain’t), but this allows Davis to rise above it all with sympathetic restraint until she finally, and to our great satisfaction, lets loose. Orry-Kelly, who has a field day with twenty years of fashionable wear, dresses the outburst to perfection while Franz Waxman’s top-notch score takes due note of the grand event.

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