7.6/10
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86 user 49 critic

Dark Victory (1939)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 22 April 1939 (USA)
A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, and must decide whether or not she'll meet her final days with dignity.

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(screen play), (from the play by) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Judith Traherne
... Dr. Frederick Steele
... Michael O'Leary
... Ann King
... Alec
... Dr. Parsons
... Carrie
... Miss Wainwright
... Martha
... Col. Mantle
... Dr. Carter
... Dr. Driscoll
... Miss Dodd
Lottie Williams ... Lucy
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Storyline

Judith Traherne is at the height of young society when Dr. Frederick Steele diagnoses a brain tumor. After surgery she falls in love with Steele. The doctor tells her secretary that the tumor will come back and eventually kill her. Learning this, Judith becomes manic and depressive. Her horse trainer Michael, who loves her, tells her to get as much out of life as she can. She marries Steele who intends to find a cure for her illness. As he goes off to a conference in New York failing eyesight indicates to Judith that she is dying. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"I've Crammed EVERY MINUTE SO FULL of waste. And now there's so little time. I don't know what to do. I'm afraid!"

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amarga victoria  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene in Dr. Steele's office where Judith can't light her cigarette, and then a few minutes later she can't light Dr. Steele's, was devised by Edmund Goulding. He explained it as, "When Bette Davis can't light her own cigarette, you know something is seriously wrong with her." See more »

Goofs

In a scene in the upstairs bedroom, a character is on the telephone and the legs of the script girl can be seen reflected in the mirror above the fireplace. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michael O'Leary: [on the phone] Hello, there. Is this the house? I've been trying to get you.
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Connections

Featured in Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

OH, GIVE ME TIME FOR TENDERNESS
(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Edmund Goulding
Lyrics by Elsie Janis
Sung by Vera Van
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Davis' portrayal of the lead character, Judith Traherne, was one of the most memorable in her screen history…
16 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

Judith is a wealthy Long Island society girl given to a dizzy lifestyle… Self-assured of her affluence and her faculty over men, she is unprepared for tragedy, which strikes in the form of a brain tumor… The underlying bravery and courage with which she faces this physical suffering eventually demonstrates the woman of substance that she is…

Among her friends is Ann King (Fitzgerald), her secretary, and handsome young Alex Hamm (Reagan), who directs her toward brain specialist Dr. Frederick Steele (Brent). The doctor diagnoses her illness as one which will end her life within a year… Judith falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage… When she discovers that her tumor is calamitous, she rejects the doctor's proposal considering it an act with compassion…

Davis provides scene after scene with the special magic only she was able of bringing vividly…

Swept into the current of events was Bogart playing an Irish horse trainer, who fails in an attempt to make love to her, yet encourages her to enjoy her time with her true love, George Brent…

The film was remade in 1963 as "Stolen Hours" with Susan Hayward, and as a 1976 TV movie under its original title with Elizabeth Montgomery…


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