Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Film of the Week: Dark Victory, 1939
Directed by Edmund Goulding and produced by Hal B. Wallis the film features a moving score by Max Steiner. Bette wanted to make sure that Steiner’s often dramatic music didn’t overpower her performance and was rumored to have said, while shooting the film’s climactic scene, “Either I’m going up those stairs, or Max Steiner is going up those stairs, but not the two of us together.”
Based on the 1934 play of the same name by George Brewer and Bertram Bloch, the picture concerns wealthy, reckless Judith Traherne (Davis) whose carefree lifestyle is threatened when she starts to have dizzy spells, headaches and blurry vision. A visit with a neurosurgeon, Dr. Frederick Steele (Brent) tells Judith that she has a terrible brain tumor. With the support of her best firend/secretary, Ann (Fitzgerald), Judith undergoes a dangerous and complicated operation which she is told has saved her life. Steele, who has fallen in love with Judith, has a secret, however—one which proves to through Judith into a spiral of depression and bad choices.
Since the TCM video library is being tricky and there are no YouTube clips from the film which allow embedding, we'll conclude with this fun clip of post-stroke Bette talking about Hal Wallis.