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The Old Maid (1939)

 -  Drama  -  2 September 1939 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,867 users  
Reviews: 30 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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(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:
...
...
Delia Lovell
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

Delia marries Jim, not Joe After Delia breaks her engagement to Clem and marries Jim, Clem promises to marry Delia's cousin Charlotte, but he dies at the battle of Vicksburg leaving Charlotte an unwed mother. She and her daughter Tina, presumably an orphan, move in with Delia who legally adopts the girl. Charlotte watches her daughter grow up and get married, never able to claim her as her own. CORRECTION; Delia breaks her engagement to Clem, in favor of wealthy Jim. Cousin Charlotte comforts Clem, and becomes pregnant. Clem dies in the war before he can marry her, and Charlotte raises her daughter as a "foundling." When Jim's brother, Joe, falls in love with Charlotte, Delia, out of spiteful jealousy, destroys the forthcoming wedding, and eventually takes Charlotte's child from her. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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

Humphrey Bogart was originally cast as the male lead, but dismissed after four days' filming. See more »

Goofs

The scene where Delia has come to the orphanage to speak with Charlotte, we can see Charlotte's sleeves change from rolled up to down several times within the shot. 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

Spoofed in The Film Fan (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

(I Wish I Was in) Dixie's Land
(1860) (uncredited)
Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Variation in the score when Clem leaves
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.


21 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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