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Old Acquaintance (1943) Poster

Trivia

This is the film with the often shown, camp classic scene of Bette Davis calmly grabbing Miriam Hopkins by the shoulders, vigorously shaking her, throwing her down into a chair, and then calmly saying with a clipped, sarcastic edge: "Sorry". Bette Davis later admitted she immensely enjoyed playing that scene.
This film was the second collaboration of legendary arch-enemies Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins, (Their previous collaboration had been The Old Maid (1939).) The fact that in 1939, Bette Davis had an affair with Miriam Hopkins' then-husband, director Anatole Litvak, only added to their mutual hatred. To their credit, the two actresses had a sense of humor about the situation and allowed publicity photographs to be taken of them facing each other wearing boxing gloves, with director Vincent Sherman between them.
Inside joke: The star of the Broadway play written by Bette Davis' character is a difficult actress named "Julia Broadbank" - a pretty obvious allusion to Tallulah Bankhead, with whom Davis had a famously acrimonious relationship after Davis landed film versions of Dark Victory and The Little Foxes, both of which had been stage triumphs for Bankhead.
Bette Davis personally requested the casting of Norma Shearer in the role of Mildred Drake. Shearer refused the role and the part went to Miriam Hopkins.
According to director Vincent Sherman, the only comment Bette Davis made about her character before filming was that she might use a cigarette holder. Miriam Hopkins' scene in the hotel room was shot first and she deliberately used a long holder to thwart Davis' character idea.
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According to director Vincent Sherman, the film's original director, Edmund Goulding wanted to avoid the Bette Davis-Miriam Hopkins feud and feigned illness in order to be taken off the picture.
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In one scene, an enraged Millie refers to Kit as "Jezebel!" This was the title of Bette Davis' blockbuster hit five years before this movie (Jezebel (1938)). Hopkins herself had starred in Jezebel on the stage before the play was filmed.
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Vincent Sherman wanted Eleanor Parker for the role of Deidre, but the studio stuck with original director Edmund Goulding's choice of Dolores Moran for the part.
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Oddly, both times Davis and Hopkins co-starred, the film's title begins with the word, "Old."
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The Broadway play opened on December 23, 1940 at the Morosco Theatre and closed 17 May 1941 after 170 performances. The opening night cast included Jane Cowl as Kit, Peggy Wood as Millie and Kent Smith as Rudd Kendall. Warner Bros. purchased the rights to the play for $75,000.
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 29, 1944 with Miriam Hopkins reprising her film role.
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The play was revived on Broadway in 2010, with Margaret Colin as Kit Marlowe.
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Many cast members in studio records & casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names): Leona Maricle (Julia Broadbank), George Lessey (Dean), Joseph Crehan (Editor), Ann Codee (Madamoiselle), Creighton Hale (Stage manager), Pierre Watkin (Mr. Winter) and Frank Darien (Stage doorman). Other cast members such as Charles Sullivan, Jack Mower, Sam Harris, Herbert Rawlinson and all of the college girls were credited but barely seen.
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Remade theatrically in the 1980s as "Rich and Famous."
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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.
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At the beginning of the "Wonder Woman" episode "Wonder Woman In Hollywood" from 1977, a few vintage Warner Bros clips of Hollywood are shown. One of these shows a cinema from the main street with marquees for "Old Acquaintance".
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The name Kit Marlowe would be used again on the '80's series "Falcon Crest", as one of multiple identities used by Kim Novak's character.
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Ruth Chatterton and Ruth Hussey would both play Kit Marlowe in separate TV versions of Old Acquaintance.
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