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 Epstein Twins, who co-authored the screenplay, changed the characters' nationality from British to American. See more »
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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Watching "Mr. Skeffington" again, after not having seen the film for a while, one thing comes perfectly clear, the adage about love being blind never made more sense than what we witness Job Skeffington feel for his wife Fanny. His was a love like no other one; knowing she did not love him, he spent a lifetime to love her unconditionally until he loses his vision and can't see her dear face, which by that time is not the same as the young beauty he fell in love with and married.
Vincent Sherman's direction of this film, based on Elizabeth Von Armin's novel, makes it a classic that endures the passing of time. Sure, it's pure melodrama, but as a film, "Mr. Skeffington" makes perfect sense because of its timeless story. It helps too that the black and white cinematography by Ernest Haller is in pristine condition. The music score one hears in the background by Franz Waxman enhances the movie.
Bette Davis and Claude Rains had an easy way to compliment one another's work. It comes as no surprise these two actors made a tremendous contribution to the finished product as they are the only reason for watching the film. Bette Davis, with her enormous and expressive eyes is at the center of the story; a society beauty that was much in demand in her youth, sees her good looks fade as she ages in front of our eyes.
Claude Rains is the generous man who falls in love with Fanny, even though her brother has swindled money from his firm in order to keep living in the style the Trellis family has been used to. Mr. Skeffington being Jewish has to endure all the prejudice directed at him.
The supporting cast is excellent. Walter Abel, Marjorie Riordan, John Alexander, and the rest do a good ensemble job backing the principals.
"Mr. Skeffington" will delight all viewers.
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