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Dark Victory (1939)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  22 April 1939 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 6,065 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 39 critic

A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, and must decide whether she'll meet her final days with dignity.

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(screen play), (from the play by), 1 more credit »
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Title: Dark Victory (1939)

Dark Victory (1939) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
George Brent ...
...
...
Ann King
...
Alec
...
Dr. Parsons
Cora Witherspoon ...
Carrie
Dorothy Peterson ...
Miss Wainwright
Virginia Brissac ...
Martha
Charles Richman ...
Colonel Mantle
Herbert Rawlinson ...
Dr. Carter
Leonard Mudie ...
Dr. Driscoll
Fay Helm ...
Miss Dodd
Lottie Williams ...
Lucy
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Storyline

Judith Traherne is at the height of young society when Dr. Frederick Steele diagnoses a brain tumor. After surgery she falls in love with Steele. The doctor tells her secretary that the tumor will come back and eventually kill her. Learning this, Judith becomes manic and depressive. Her horse trainer Michael, who loves her, tells her to get as much out of life as she can. She marries Steele who intends to find a cure for her illness. As he goes off to a conference in New York failing eyesight indicates to Judith that she is dying. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | doctor | brain tumor | vermont | horse | See more »

Taglines:

"I've Crammed EVERY MINUTE SO FULL of waste. And now there's so little time. I don't know what to do. I'm afraid!"

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dark Victory  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bette Davis pestered Warner Brothers to buy the rights to the story, thinking it a great vehicle for her. WB studio chief Jack L. Warner fought against it, arguing that no one wanted to see someone go blind. Of course, the film went on to become one of the studio's biggest successes of that year. See more »

Goofs

Lottie Williams is credited onscreen as playing "Lucy", but she plays Agatha. Lucy is played by Diane Bernard. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michael O'Leary: [on the phone] Hello, there. Is this the house? I've been trying to get you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Vienna Blood
(1873) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauß
Played at the restaurant
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The ultimate tear-jerker!
3 May 2001 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

Not only is this sublime classic the greatest tear-jerker of all time (well, let's call it a tie with "Lassie Come Home"), it also contains one of the greatest performances ever given by Bette Davis. In the hands of a lesser actress this movie could have been a soppy pot-boiler. In the hands of Ms Davis it is close to being a masterpiece. If most of the supporting players can't match her it's no wonder - Bette is truly inspired here! The normally fine Geraldine Fitzgerald seems rather self-conscious in a difficult role (and an early one for her), and George Brent can't handle the really emotional stuff. But Bogart is stunning in that sexually charged scene with Bette in the stables. Ronnie doesn't have much to do, but Virginia Brissac is memorable as Martha and Henry Travers terrific as the old doctor.

Above all this is the excellent direction of Edmund Goulding, the fine cinematography of Ernest Haller and the great music of Max Steiner. Sure, dying in real life is never this beautiful, but don't we all wish we could go out with the style that Bette Davis does? Be warned: the last 15 minutes of this film are almost torturously moving - but then ALL of "Lassie Come Home" is. And don't we just love a good cry!


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