Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge and predictable complications result.
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It's 1914 in New York City. Adult brother and sister Trippy Trellis and Fanny Trellis, whose parents are now deceased, were once wealthy, but Trippy squandered away the family fortune, about which no one knows except their cousin George Trellis and their many creditors. Fanny and Trippy still put on the façade to the outside world that they have money. The beautiful Fanny can have any man that she wants to marry, but she sets her sights on Job Skeffington, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Job's wealth was self-made in finance. They met as Trippy was once employed by Job in his brokerage house. Fanny and Job, who is now aware of the Trellis' financial straits, ultimately do get married, much to the consternation of Fanny's many suitors, but most specifically to Trippy, who knows the reason why Fanny married him. Job also realizes that Fanny does not love him, but is unaware of the real reason she agreed to marry him. After their marriage, Fanny's suitors are still around with more... Written by
The image of the battleship turning over in the newsreel scene is that of the Viribus Unitus, which sunk during the closing days of World War One, rather than before America's entry into the war, as discussed in the newsreel See more »
Good evening, Soames!
Good evening, Mr. Conderley.
Afraid I'm a little early, aren't I?
Miss Trellis wasn't expecting anyone till 8 o'clock.
Well, I thought I'd come a little ahead of time; have a little chat with Miss Fanny.
Sorry, sir; she's still dressing.
All right, I'll wait.
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"Mr. Skeffington" is one of the great Hollywood melodramas. Bette Davis has the showy role in this epic story of a troubled relationship, but it's Claude Rains as her Jewish husband who jerks the tears. Bette is all mannerisms and makeup - and there's nothing wrong with that! - but Rains gives a subtle, weighty performance that anchors the movie.
This is Warner Brothers at its most elegant. The Franz Waxman score is superb and the way he punctuates Bette's eye-blinking is hilarious.
The magnificent singer/actress Dolores Gray made her first film appearance in this film as a 1920s speakeasy chanteuse. Bette acknowledges what a beautiful voice she has in a moment that hasn't really anything to do with the scene, but the divine Dolores deserves the comment. In case you don't know who she is, check out her own film career 10 years later in her MGM films such as "It's Always Fair Weather."
Bette's aging makeup presages her work in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"
You won't want to miss "Mr. Skeffington." Bette's flamboyance and Rains' gravitas make this film totally enjoyable.
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