|Bette Davis & Miriam Hopkins toast one another on the finish of “Previous Acquaintance.”
AFTER their two hour performing bout!
by no means noticed 1943’s Previous Acquaintance till
I wrote this essay—gasp!—however have caught
the well-known shakedown scene between sparring stars Bette Davis and Miriam
are likely to gravitate towards Davis in her “dangerous Bette” roles and this film appeared soapy
and sappy. The WB movie was primarily based on the Broadway hit by John Van Druten, famed
for good stage comedies, so I used to be pleasantly stunned.
|The well-known second from “Previous Acquaintance.” Bette shakes Miriam like a Polaroid digicam!|
Previous Acquaintance takes place over a close to 20 years within the
rocky course of Package Marlowe and Millie Drake’s friendship. Davis’ Package is a
good, no-nonsense author of critically acclaimed however commercially-challenged
books. Hopkins’ Millie, an indulged younger spouse, is perpetually aggressive with
Package. Along with her bestie’s assist, Millie needs to be a broadcast writer, too.
Nonetheless, the foolish however steel-willed Millie needs to write down business crowd-pleasers, and finally succeeds.
|Miriam Hopkins & Bette Davis as life-long mates & rivals in “Previous Acquaintance.”
Through the years, Package
turns into near Millie’s husband Preston, and daughter Deirdre, which turns into
a bone of rivalry. Millie manages to wreck her marriage all by herself,
but has no downside in attempting to pin the blame on Package. Within the last act,
Millie’s husband plans to remarry, her daughter is a grown lady, and Package has a
youthful beau. All involves a head when Millie discovers Preston professed his
like to Package, and daughter Deirdre is in love with Package’s younger man.
The roles of Package and
Millie provide a discipline day for Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins. The celebrities had been
re-teamed for Previous Acquaintance after
their 1938 hit, The Previous Maid. As soon as
once more, Bette is the subdued, extra sympathetic one, and Miriam is the glamorous gadfly.
Apparently, these two motion pictures had been the most important hits from Miriam Hopkins’
main girl days. Hopkins has a ball because the high-strung trash novel author.
Miriam’s efficiency as a comic book bitch is way more on-target than Candice
Bergen’s hit-and-miss efficiency within the remake, Wealthy and Well-known. Miriam’s kinetic power is humorous, but fearsome. Hopkins, an even bigger star in the course of the first
half of the ‘30s, was additionally six years older than Davis, however now Bette was the
larger star. Nonetheless, Hopkins greater than held her personal in Previous Acquaintance!
|Artwork imitating life? Miriam Hopkins & Bette Davis dig deep into their psyches to play frenemies!|
As for Bette Davis, I
significantly loved her relaxed efficiency as Package within the character’s youthful
years. An idealized portrait of the Davis persona, Package is wryly humorous,
good, easy, and sympathetic. Davis performs with restraint towards
Hopkins’ dervish of a diva. This works for the film and their performances.
|Bette Davis as younger Package Marlowe in “Previous Acquaintance.” If that title sounds acquainted, it is as a result of that is what Columbia’s Harry Cohn needed to call Kim Novak!|
Whereas Bette has nice
moments because the 40-something Package, Davis turns moderately first lady-ish, as critic
James Agee famous of her later WB performances. Bette snaps her traces as crisply
as when Margo Channing chomps that celery stick in All About Eve. Additionally, why would smart Package slather on extra make-up
and sport a sweet cane-style silver streak in her hair? Nonetheless, Bette has some
stellar scenes, as when Package and the younger beau are at cross functions concerning
marriage. Davis’ finale with Hopkins, as they toast one another in friendship,
is genuinely satisfying. Some critics carped as to why these two ladies had been
mates within the first place. Properly, I’ve had some unlikely friendships that I’ve
generally questioned, too!
|Shellacking Bette Davis with make-up and a silver streak appears out of
character for the older Package Marlowe. With Gig Younger.
I discovered Previous Acquaintance’s story surprisingly
grownup for the period, with some nice traces, and plot turns. The one main beef I
have is with the final act. I notice older motion pictures and performs had conventions
that had been lower than sensible. However Previous
Acquaintance has one which’s simply illogical: Package places off youthful beau
Rudd’s marriage proposal. Rejected, he instantly is charmed by Deirdre, who
he has simply referred to as a spoiled brat. They now immediately fall in love. Beau goes
again to Package, to inform her he’ll now marry Deirdre. And the younger lady is damage
when she finds out Rudd had deliberate to marry Package. If the previous romance was a
secret, I missed that plot level! If this had been introduced steadily, it
can be extra plausible.
|Although Package acts as a surrogate mom towards Dolores Moran’s Dierdre, she later is shocked that Gig Younger’s Rudd was romancing Bette’s author. John Loder at left.|
John Loder as Preston
Drake is strong if not thrilling; Delores Moran is respectable as daughter Diedre, however
I can see why her profession did not go wherever. Anne Revere has a scrumptious bit as
a pointy reporter. I used to be shocked to search out that Package’s good-looking younger beau was Gig
Younger. Simply 5 years youthful than Davis, Younger is impossibly youthful and lovely;
a far cry from his later craggy attractiveness that had been marred by alcoholism.
|Gig Younger was all the time distinguished, however I had no thought he was so good-looking.|
Vincent Sherman does
one other good job with a “lady’s image” as they had been as soon as referred to as.
He retains the episodic story shifting and classy, besides. Sherman retains the
girls from chewing the surroundings. I am certain the WB director had his work reduce out
for him, as this was Bette and Miriam’s performing bout all the way in which.
|Bette Davis & Miriam Hopkins feud was thus publicized on their first movie, “The Previous Maid!”|
Previous Acquaintance is much superior to the dreary remake, 1981’s Wealthy and Well-known. Star and producer
Jacqueline Bisset opted for the Davis function, with Candice Bergen solid because the
crass pulp author. Whereas Bisset is a refined actress and Candice has a aptitude for
comedy, their remake felt much more old style than the unique, regardless of the
intercourse scenes. Bisset’s author is not simply severe, however morose via a lot of the
film. Whereas Candice is usually enjoyable because the catty rival, Pauline Kael rightly
pegged Bergen as giving a drag queen efficiency and that Bisset’s character
is extra of a homosexual male fantasy. I assumed this watching Wealthy and Well-known as a result of it jogged my memory of criticism about Intercourse and the Metropolis. Maybe it is because
homosexual males had been on the helm of the respective productions?
All eyes again on Previous Acquaintance: If you wish to watch a
fashionable comedy-drama, with two nice stars creating sparks, Previous Acquaintance is a superb match.
FYI: I put all of the film overflow on my public FB film
Test it out & be part of! https://www.fb.com/teams/178488909366865/
|Bette as older Package in “Previous Acquaintance.” Off-screen, Davis was working to type
the Stage Door Canteen, to profit WWII troops.