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Old Acquaintance (1943)

 -  Drama  -  27 November 1943 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 1,580 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 11 critic

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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Title: Old Acquaintance (1943)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Kit Marlowe
...
Millie Drake
...
Rudd Kendall
John Loder ...
Preston Drake
Dolores Moran ...
Deirdre Drake
Phillip Reed ...
Lucian Grant (as Philip Reed)
...
Charlie Archer
...
Belle Carter
Esther Dale ...
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

Genres:

Drama

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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film has been under common ownership with its 1981 remake ever since the remake was released. The year the remake was released, its distributor, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, acquired United Artists, which had owned the rights to the 1943 version since its 1958 purchase of Associated Artists Productions which had owned the pre-1950 Warner Bros. library. Turner Entertainment, a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting System, bought the pre-1986 MGM library and the pre-1950 WB library from MGM/UA in 1986. 10 years later, WB regained its pre-1950 library, plus the pre-1986 MGM films, when its parent Time Warner purchased Turner, which continues to hold the copyrights to both film versions of the play, with Warner Bros. handling distribution. See more »

Goofs

In the bedroom scene with Preston, Kit is on the telephone with Julia Broadbank, Preston is holding her hand, then Deidre runs in and sits on her lap. Both of Kit's arms are around her, it's a tight two-shot. Then it cuts to the master-shot and Kit suddenly has a lit cigarette in her hand which she smokes through the time Deidre leaves the room all the way until she is talking to Millie and Miss Carter in the Living room. See more »

Quotes

Kit Marlowe: There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.
See more »


Soundtracks

Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean
(1843) (uncredited)
Music by David T. Shaw
Arranged by Thomas A. Beckett
Played after Kit's radio speech for the Red Cross
See more »

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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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