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I have seen BOTH Dark Victory versions..1939/1976..While Bette Davis undeniably gives the vibrancy and subtlety in 1939,one needs to view the 1976 version INTACT/UNEDITED over many years..as I have seen Elizabeth Montgomery's version over the last 30+ years,I have found that a "very good" movie is a subtle masterpiece with more realistic truth paced out quite beautifully throughout the film...the music,dialogue and overall non-dated performances of Ms. Montgomery and Anthony Hopkins has a far more natural rhythm that hold up much better than the 1939 version.. Time reveals all..for me,who much prefers the OLD classics,this 1976 Dark Victory is the best!
If you haven't seen the 1939 original with Bette Davis, this updated
of "Dark Victory" is a pretty good made-for-TV movie (I haven't seen it
since the original TV showing in 1976, so I'm relying on my memory).
Elizabeth Montgomery is always good, Anthony Hopkins did well in an early
role, and the story will hold your interest.
However, if you have seen the original - forget this version (the same comment applies to the other remake of "Dark Victory" - the 1963 film "Stolen Hours" with Susan Hayward). Like most remakes, it doesn't compare to the "real thing". You can't improve upon a movie that was already perfect of its kind, and is an acknowledged classic of the cinema.
While this is not a great TV movie it is a good re-working of the 1939 Bette Davis classic. The always beautiful and talented Liz Montgomery gives it her all playing a TV Producer stricken with a brain tumor. Liz plays a woman so consumed by her job that she ignores her personal life as well as her health. She ignores all the symptoms of her impending illness until she finally collapses at a cocktail party and falls down a few stairs. Once in the hospital she meets a doctor (Anthony Hopkins in an early role) who diagnoses her condition and eventually falls in love with her. What follows is kind of depressing as we all know where this is going to lead. Liz goes through all the emotions of dealing with her illness, surpise, frustration, anger, and also trying to deal with her love for a man who knows their time together is limited. Sad movie but if you are a diehard fan of Liz Montgomery like I am then you will enjoy it. Liz is quite sexy in the beginning but once she starts wearing an ugly short wig in the second part the reality of cancer really hits the viewer. All in all not a bad movie, just not on a par with Liz's "Lizzie Borden" or "Case of Rape".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a French admirer of Elizabeth Montgomery who played in "Bewitched"i
watched this TV movie incidentally on YouTube searching for videos of
Bewitched and i already watched this TV movie years ago in my early
twenties..The movie got me emotionally and it is a good surprise,a
convincing story..Liz or Katie in the role is overburdened by her job
and she is constantly stressed ,we can see at the beginning of the
movie that she is smoking a cigarette nervously,waiting for the
Limousine car who will drive her to the studio where she is a producer
of a TV program and everything seems OK when she arrives at her office
except that she is very quickly stricken by a headache. Her vision is
blurred and she sees like in a fog for a moment..Her best friend of the
office Dolores who worries about her soon introduces her to Mickael
Grant a famous doctor at a party but Katie takes it very badly despite
her attraction for this man when she finds out that Mickael grant was
invited by her friend to determine her illness and as a result she
falls into the stairs. Soon after she is forced to admit that her
health is quite bad after a consultation at Dr Grant's who discovers
that Katie has a malign brain tumor. He is left embarrassed not knowing
if he must tell her the truth about her tumor or hide her the reality
also because he fell in love with her patient.What does he have to do?
Facing a terrible dilemma Mickael grant chooses to say nothing and give
comfort and love to Katie who despite this heavy secret understands one
day the horrible news.She is surprised,shocked and so angry that she
dumps Mickael one late afternoon . Poor Mickael is desperate and thinks
he has ruined the life of her patient and beloved..fortunately Katie
makes her decision and gives him a chance for love and happiness.
Actually everything happens by stages in this story,Katie's attraction for Mickael,the operation and time at hospital,the hopes of a new life less dedicated to work and concentrated on Love and simple things like flowers,dinners ,the discovery of the truth soon after ,the fear,angerness and the desire to die and at last the choice to live and love Mickael fully and intensely whatever will happen given that time is money and every day is counted . I cried when i watched again this movie because the story is very sad but the performances are very good and the chemistry between Elizabeth Montgomery and Anthony Perkins is nice.We all guess what will become of this love since the beginning but that's not tragic and this film has a strong message. LIVE AND LIVE FULLY AS IF EACH DAY WAS THE LAST ONE ,don't waste any single minute of your life and show your love intensely because nothing is guaranteed and everything you have,job ,house and friends can disappear tomorrow. Liz Montgomery obviously wore a wig for the role of a woman operated from a cancer but i think it suited her and made her a totally new woman after the operation because an illness changes your mind and vision of life DEFINITELY.Elizabeth plays this woman both happy and tormented in a very realistic way and Anthony Hopkins is a sweetie but he is fair. He doesn't want to lose a single minute and love Katie intensely despite his sadness that explodes after a long retention.But as Katie tells him near the end : "Darling we fought together you and I till now,TILL NOW and we know what many people will never know in their lifetime."Because what does be alive mean? Does it simply means get up in the morning,go to work and have a daily routine or enjoy every day and every hour with the people we love and the things we cherish? This film gives the answer. I cried with Katie but she's right "No we're not tragic.We're not tragic!"Bravo Elizabeth Montgomery for this stunning performance.
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