Dark Victory is a 1939 Weepie

 In Drama, Everything, Good
Dark Victory

The review:

Edmund Goulding provides a great canvas to show off Bette Davis’s range in Dark Victory.* Davis, aside from cycling through the stages of grief, makes a wealthy socialite a sympathetic character while wooing George Brent, a reserved and quiet doctor who knows he doesn’t know enough about brain tumors to be of any help.** This is a solid capsule of its time from the lack of information given to the patient, to the copious amounts of cigarette smoking.

The verdict: Good

Cost: Free via TV Land Feature Films (which didn’t have ads for the first film I watched, but now does. Tricky!)
Where watched: at home.

Consider also watching:

Further sentences:

*It’s a weepie, though removed enough from its time and place that I did not weep.
**This is the first time I’ve seen Ronald Reagan in a movie. I didn’t recognize him when he faced the camera, he was only identifiable in profile. Also of note. Humphrey Bogart is hardly in this .


  • If you had a terminal brain tumor, would you want to know? Why or why not?
  • Did it seem like there was a big age difference between Bette Davis (Judith) and George Brent (Dr. Steele)? IMDB tells me they are only four years apart.
  • Does the name Dr. Frederick Steele sound kind of bodice-rippery?

Favorite IMDB Trivia Items:

The scene in Dr. Steele’s office where Judith can’t light her cigarette, and then a few minutes later she can’t light Dr. Steele’s, was devised by Edmund Goulding. He explained, “When Bette Davis can’t light her own cigarette, you know something is seriously wrong with her.”

When the band is packing up and Judith tips them to play a song, she gives the singer a $50 bill and they immediately jump to it. Adjusting for inflation, this is the equivalent of about $900.

Dark Victory
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