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Old Acquaintance (1943)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 27 November 1943 (USA)
Old friends Kit Marlowe and Millie Drake adopt contrasting lifestyles: Kit is a single, critically acclaimed author while married Millie writes popular pulp novels.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Lucian Grant (as Philip Reed)
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Charlie Archer
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Belle Carter
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Harriet
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Storyline

Jealous of best friend Kit, a critically acclaimed but financially unsuccessful author and playwright, Millie writes a novel, the first in a string of bestselling trashy novels. After eight years of neglect and taking a backseat to Millie's fame, her husband Preston leaves her. Another decade passes and Kit announces her intention of marrying the decade-younger Rudd. Millie thinks Preston wishes to reconcile, only to discover he is engaged. He also admits that he was in love with Kit, who had turned down his many advances. Feeling Kit to blame for the failure of her marriage, Millie flies into a rage and confronts Kit. Later, learning of Rudd's affection for Millie's daughter Diedre, Kit graciously steps aside to bless their union. In the end, Millie and Kit make up, sharing a champagne toast for each one's old acquaintance. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Together Again! in their greatest emotional triumph

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 November 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'impossible amour  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ruth Chatterton and Ruth Hussey would both play Kit Marlowe in separate TV versions of Old Acquaintance. See more »

Goofs

Kit is in bed smoking a cigarette. In one second the cigarette is almost to her finger and the next moment it is longer. Lit cigarettes don't grow, they shrink. See more »

Quotes

Kit Marlowe: I'd better get out of here, Millie, before I do something I'll be very sorry for.
Millie Drake: Yes, go! And if you think I want you to come back ever you're wrong! Well? why don't you go?
Kit Marlowe: In just a minute.
[She puts down her parcels, crosses the room, grabs Millie by the shoulders and shakes her violently, then shoves her so she falls on the sofa]
Kit Marlowe: Sorry.
[She picks up her things and exits, leaving Millie throwing a tantrum]
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Connections

Remade as Rich and Famous (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz No. 15 in A flat major, Op. 39
(1865) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
Performed on piano twice by Miriam Hopkins
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User Reviews

 
Break Out the Flat Champagne
7 May 2007 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

A classic woman's film in the best sense of the word, "Old Acquaintance" was remade by George Cukor as "Rich and Famous" and echoed in the final scenes of Pedro Almodovar's "La Flor de Mi Secreto." Such is the enduring appeal of this tale of a friendship between two women that continues throughout their lives despite rivalries, temperament, and love affairs. Of course with Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins as the women, the film rises from melodramatic soap opera to a higher level. Davis plays Kit, a serious, sensitive writer, whose interests lie principally in her work. Hopkins plays Millie, a self-absorbed woman who envies her friend's success, but is determined to have everything: a writing career, a home, and a family. While Kit writes critically lauded books and plays, Millie produces a steady stream of best selling romantic novels. While Millie becomes wealthy beyond measure, Kit remains appreciated if not rich. However, Kit's warmth attracts the affections of not only Millie's increasingly estranged husband, but also her neglected daughter.

Thus, the stage is set for emotional clashes between the two writers that provide Davis and Hopkins with some juicy material. Hopkins in particular chews the scenery, wrings her hands, and emotes outrageously. Davis, on the other hand, underplays her role more than usual, although the Davis eyes and inflections remain. Perhaps she understood that the histrionics of more than one actress would be too much for the audience to bear. However, during one classic outburst, Davis unexpectedly does steal a scene from Hopkins and provoke a startled laugh from the audience. With two strong women at its center, the men in "Old Acquaintance" understandably play support. John Loder is all bland good looks as Millie's husband, and a handsome Gig Young does little besides look handsome and play the too-young romantic interest for Davis.

With the exception of Deidre, Hopkins' daughter, the other major female roles also involve working women. Although Davis's maid may be a domestic, she does work and earn her own living. The reporter who interviews Hopkins and Loder is a gender-neutral role, but perhaps to emphasize the centrality of women to the story, another strong actress, Anne Revere, was cast. In fact, besides Loder and Young, most of the men in the film play waiters, taxi drivers, night clerks, playboys, and drunks. Newcomer Dolores Moran, who plays Deidre, was out of her league with Davis and Hopkins and comes across as shallow and unconvincing. Her erotic gyrations to seduce Gig Young in a listening booth and her defiant dalliance with an older playboy are at odds with the character and image of Kit, who was supposedly Deidre's role model.

Fast paced, lush, and romantic, "Old Acquaintance" is one of those movies that "they just don't make anymore." The dialog is delicious, the performances occasionally border on camp, and the direction is sure-handed. With a box of chocolates, a wad of Kleenex, and a bottle of flat champagne, Bette and Miriam are the perfect friends for a rainy afternoon.


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