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The Old Maid (1939)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  2 September 1939 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,044 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 9 critic

The arrival of an ex-lover on a young woman's wedding day sets in motion a chain of events which will alter her and her cousin's lives forever.

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Writers:

(screen play), (based on the play by: Pulitzer Prize), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Old Maid (1939)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
George Brent ...
Clem Spender
...
...
Tina
...
Dora
James Stephenson ...
Jim Ralston
Jerome Cowan ...
Joe Ralston
William Lundigan ...
Lanning Halsey
Cecilia Loftus ...
Grandmother Lovell
...
Jim
Janet Shaw ...
Dee
...
John (as DeWolf Hopper)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rod Cameron ...
(scenes deleted)
Raymond Rayhill Powell
Edit

Storyline

After a two-year absence, Clem Spender returns home on the very day that his former fiancée, Delia, is marrying another man. Clem enlists in the Union army and dies on the battlefield, but not before finding comfort in the arms of Delia's cousin, Charlotte Lovell. The years pass and Charlotte establishes an orphanage and eventually confesses to Delia that her dearest young charge, Tina, is an fact her own child by Clem. Jealousy and family secrets threaten to tear the cousins apart. Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Vividly, unforgettably, a woman's love starved soul is revealed. All those strange secrets she locks in her heart ... moments of rapture and of heartbreak ... longings that no man can fathom. Of these has the year's finest picture been woven!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 September 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Velha Ama  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 1935 Pulitzer Prize-winning play opened at the Empire Theatre in New York on Jan. 7, 1935 and ran for 305 performances. The leads were played by Judith Anderson and Helen Menken. Marjorie Lord, who later gained fame as the wife of Danny Thomas on TV's Make Room for Daddy (1953), was a replacement cast member in a supporting role. Producer-Director Ernst Lubitsch bought the rights to the play, intending to star both Judith Anderson and Helen Menken in a Paramount production, but he sold the rights to Warner Bros. in Jan. 1939. See more »

Goofs

When Dee is married, the invitation states the year as 1884. Later, when Tina is to marry, the announcement reads 1881 - three years earlier. See more »

Quotes

Charlotte Lovell: She thinks I can't understand her. She considers me an old maid.
Delia Lovell Ralston: My dear.
Charlotte Lovell: A ridiculous, narrow-minded old maid. What else can she ever think of me?
Delia Lovell Ralston: Poor Charlotte.
Charlotte Lovell: Oh, but you needn't pity me. Because she's really mine. If she considers me an old maid, it's because I've deliberately made myself one in her eyes. I've done it from the beginning so she wouldn't have the least suspicion. I've practised everything I've ever had to say to her, if it was important, so that I'd sound like an old maid ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are shown on facsimiles of wedding invitation cards. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(1863) (uncredited)
Music by Louis Lambert
Played at the train station when soldiers return
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent early Bette Davis film
25 July 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Superb soap opera takes place from the 1860s to the 1880s. Miriam Hopkins spurns long-time fiancee George Brent to marry another man. Her cousin, Bette Davis, also loves Brent and "comforts" him before he goes off to war. He dies in the war and leaves her pregnant. She secretly has the baby and tells nobody except Hopkins. Hopkins, now a rich widow, convinces Davis to let her adopt the child so she will have a name. She does and watches her child grow up treating Hopkins like her mother and Davis with contempt as an old maid.

The story is very sudsy but the script has wonderful, literate dialogue and the picture is very elaborately made. But what really puts the picture across is the superb acting by Hopkins and Davis. They both hated each other passionately off screen but you'd never know it on screen. The scenes when they're friends or rivals are just great--every single line rings true and they play their roles to the hilt. A real surprise is seeing Hopkins play a sweet woman at the end--she certainly wasn't like that in real life! And the very last scene in the movie will bring a tear to your eye--just Bette Davis' reaction to something really hits.

A great film--don't miss it! A must if you're a Bette Davis fan.


24 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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