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Now, Voyager (1942)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  31 October 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 10,583 users  
Reviews: 126 user | 44 critic

Boston spinster blossoms under therapy and finds impossible romance.



(screenplay), (from the novel by)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
John Loder ...
Ilka Chase ...
Lee Patrick ...
Katharine Alexander ...
Miss Trask (as Katherine Alexander)
James Rennie ...


In Boston, the over-weight spinster Charlotte Vale is a repressed woman without self-esteem and completely dominated by her wealthy mother Mrs. Henry Vale. When her sister-in-law Lisa Vale brings the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Jaquith, who is her friend, to visit Charlotte, he invites her to spend some time in his sanatorium. Soon Charlotte transforms in a sophisticated and confident woman and travels in a cruise to South America. She meets architect Jerry Durrance, who is married, and they have a love affair in Rio de Janeiro. Six months later, she returns home and confronts her mother with her independence and own free will. One day, Charlotte has an argument with her mother and she dies of a heart attack. Charlotte becomes the heir of the Vale's fortune but she feels guilty for the death of her mother. She decides to return to Dr. Jaquith's sanatorium whether she befriends Tina, who is the twelve-year-old daughter of Jerry rejected by her mother. She brings the girl to her house in ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


I'm the maiden aunt. Every family has one you know. See more »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

31 October 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Estranha Passageira  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Now Voyager" was actually the third book in a five-part saga of the Vales, a high-class Boston family, written by Olive Higgins Prouty over a 12-year period from 1936 to 1947. When Warner Brothers bought the film rights to the novel, Prouty wrote a lengthy letter to her literary agent, setting out how she felt the production should be mounted. She felt strongly that the best way to dramatize the flashbacks would be to feature short silent segments woven into the main sound narrative. Her letter made its way to producer Hal B. Wallis at Warners, who subsequently ignored her suggestions. Prouty wrote the next novel in the series, "Home Port," with an eye to it being filmed, and while a script exists, it was never produced. See more »


After sending the wire to his wife, Jerry's position alternates between having only his right arm on the table and leaning forward on the table with both arms. See more »


Charlotte Vale: Dora, I suspect you're a treasure.
See more »


Referenced in The Counterfeit Contessa (1994) See more »


Symphony No. 6 in B Minor (Pathétique)
, Op. 74 (1893) (uncredited)
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
First movement played at the concert
Also played as part of the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

excellent film with excellent ensemble
28 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the 1942 screen adaptation of the 1941 bestseller by Olive Higgins-Prouty, Bette Davis and Paul Henreid provide excellent, subtle performances as Charlotte Vale (self-described Spinster Aunt) and J.D. (Jerry) Durrance, the married man she meets, befriends, and with whom she falls in love on a cruise following a transformative stay at the Vermont Sanatorium operated by Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains). Reviewers often speak of the themes of self-sacrifice and relate it to the war, which would have been an attractive reason to make the film, but the reality was that the novel was a popular best-seller, Higgins-Prouty's earlier novel, Stella Dallas, was also a popular film (and later a radio series), and the studio stood to do well financially if the movie turned out well. Hal Wallis' deft hand as producer is seen here, especially in his choice of Orry Kelly as costume designer for Bette Davis. He and the studio worked within the limits of censors' requirements, which indicated that there could be no intimation that the two main characters had sex (which was implicit in the novel but never explicitly stated, where the behavior between the two in the love scenes were generally glossed over most of the time), and that they could not share the same blanket in the scene where they are in a hut on a Brazilian mountain, stranded. They also had to change locales for the story, because the novel had the sea voyage set in and around Italy, Gibralter, etc. In spite of any restrictions placed on the filmmakers and actors, the film followed the novel very closely, especially with respect to dialogue. The big point of contention has always been: who invented the two-cigarette lighting gesture that Paul Henreid became famous for later? According to some, George Brent and Bette Davis did something similar earlier in another film, and according to Paul Henreid and Bette Davis, there was a cigarette exchange ritual in the script which was sort of awkward, so they improvised based on Paul Henreid's experience with his wife on car trips. The latter seems likely, as there was a cigarette-exchange ritual in the novel (Jerry would give Charlotte a cigarette, lighting hers and then his own on one match, and then they would exchange cigarettes with each other so that Charlotte smoked the one that had been in Jerry's mouth and vice versa), which would have been slightly awkward in practice.

All in all, this is a truly excellent film with great production values, true to the novel on which it was based, and a wonderful ensemble cast.

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