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Old Acquaintance (1943)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 27 November 1943 (USA)
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Old friends Kit Marlowe and Millie Drake adopt contrasting lifestyles: Kit is a single, critically acclaimed author while married Millie writes popular pulp novels.

Director:

Vincent Sherman

Writers:

John Van Druten (screenplay), Lenore J. Coffee (screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Katherine 'Kit' Marlowe
Miriam Hopkins ... Midred 'Millie' Drake
Gig Young ... Rudd Kendall
John Loder ... Preston Drake
Dolores Moran ... Deirdre'DeDe' Drake
Phillip Reed ... Lucian Grant (as Philip Reed)
Roscoe Karns ... Charlie Archer
Anne Revere ... Belle Carter
Esther Dale ... Harriet
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Storyline

Jealous of best friend Kit, a critically acclaimed but financially unsuccessful author and playwright, Millie writes a novel, the first in a string of bestselling trashy novels. After eight years of neglect and taking a backseat to Millie's fame, her husband Preston leaves her. Another decade passes and Kit announces her intention of marrying the decade-younger Rudd. Millie thinks Preston wishes to reconcile, only to discover he is engaged. He also admits that he was in love with Kit, who had turned down his many advances. Feeling Kit to blame for the failure of her marriage, Millie flies into a rage and confronts Kit. Later, learning of Rudd's affection for Millie's daughter Diedre, Kit graciously steps aside to bless their union. In the end, Millie and Kit make up, sharing a champagne toast for each one's old acquaintance. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Together Again! in their greatest emotional triumph

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L'impossible amour See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

As the group of college girls drive Kit away, Millie turns her head and calls out Kit's name but her lips do not move. See more »

Quotes

Kit Marlowe: Deidre, come out from behind that screen.
[a pause]
Kit Marlowe: Deidre, come out, or do you want me to come back there and drag you out.
Deirdre Drake: [emerging from behind screen] How did you know I was there?
Kit Marlowe: My dear, I was hiding behind screens before you were born.
See more »

Connections

Featured in All About Bette (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz No. 15 in A flat major, Op. 39
(1865) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
Performed on piano twice by Miriam Hopkins
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Old Rivalry
19 July 2005 | by FilmOtakuSee all my reviews

Long before "Beaches" and "The Turning Point", there was the film "Old Acquaintance" (1937?). Focusing on the familiar theme of longtime friendship that is tainted by jealousy and competition, one of the most remarkable things about it is that Davis actually plays the "nice" one this time around. "Old Acquaintance" begins with Kit (Davis), a writer who turns out books that appeal to female intellectuals, returns home to visit her old friend Millie (Hopkins). Kit and Millie basically grew up together, and despite Kit's seriousness and drive and Millie's concern for all things material, the two have forged a friendship that is pretty tight. When we first meet the two, Millie, married and pregnant with her first (and only) child, decides that she too can become an authoress, only she is going to write what she thinks the public wants; torrid potboilers (ala Danielle Steel) that are high on the sappy melodrama, and low on the substance meter. When Millie finds eventual success and becomes extremely wealthy, churning out book after book, her husband Pres (Loder), and child, Didi begin to feel neglected and eschewed, thanks to Millie's highly materialistic and "queen bee" attitude. They both turn to Kit, who has managed to stick around through all of this, Pres falling in love with her, and Didi looking to Kit as a surrogate mother. Despite Kit having reciprocal feelings for Pres, she insists that they can never come to fruition since Millie is her best friend, so he divorces Millie and leaves. Years later, still a success, Millie finds out that Kit and Pres were in love at one point, and despite the fact that neither followed through with their feelings, Millie blames Kit, now an accomplished and respected playwright, eventually turning Didi, now in her late teens, against her. The drama is further heightened when Kit finally agrees to marry Rudd (Young), her younger lover, right when he meets and falls in love with Didi, causing further conflict and heartache until Kit and Millie are left with the prospect of only being left with the other, despite their serious issues over the years.

I really enjoyed "Old Acquaintance" because it had all of the elements of a great melodrama; back-stabbing, unrealized and tragic love, Bette Davis. Whether she is playing the good soul or the evil one (most likely the latter), Davis does drama the best, and "Old Acquaintance" is a fine example of her work. Hopkins, who I previously have seen playing fairly harmless and airy characters in ("The Heiress") as well as endangered and misunderstood (the wrongfully accused school teacher in "These Three") really rolls up her sleeves and digs into this part with obvious relish. She is fantastic, and while you spend most of the movie hating her, you can't help but admire how well Hopkins performs the role. The supporting cast of Loder and Young are fairly solid, and Loder in particular is great as the put-upon, romantic and downtrodden husband. Part of you wants to smirk and call him a wuss and part of you wishes you could date him.

The story itself is full and solidly carries itself well from the beginning of the film until the end. Coupled with good acting and a couple of great slaps courtesy of La Davis, "Old Acquaintance" was a good, meaty film that I watched with great relish, wondering where it had been for the last 20 years I have spent watching all things classic film, and in particular, Bette Davis. There was nothing stupendous about "Old Acquaintance" that made me speak in tongues or anything, but it is a wonderful film that has fallen into relative obscurity over the years that deserves to be seen and enjoyed. 8/10 --Shelly


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