The Old Maid

Watch The Old Maid

"Vividly, unforgettably, a woman's love starved soul is revealed. All those strange secrets she locks in her heart ... moments of rapture and of heartbreak ... longings that no man can fathom. Of these has the year's finest picture been woven!"
  • Approved
  • 1939
  • 1 hr 35 min
  • 7.4  (4,021)

Released in 1939, "The Old Maid" is a poignant drama film, starring the iconic duo of Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins, alongside George Brent. The movie, directed by Edmund Goulding, is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Edith Wharton. Set in 1861-1872, the story revolves around two cousins, Delia Lovell (Davis) and Charlotte Lovell (Hopkins), who are in love with the same man, Jim Ralston (Brent). However, Jim marries Charlotte, leaving Delia heartbroken and bitter. She soon marries another man, Clem Spender (William Lundigan), who dies soon after their marriage, leaving her pregnant.

Delia, unable to raise the child on her own, gives her daughter to Charlotte and Jim to raise as their own. The daughter, named Tina (Jane Bryan), grows up believing that Charlotte is her real mother and Delia is her spinster aunt. However, when Tina is a young woman, circumstances force Delia to reveal the truth about Tina's parentage, leading to a dramatic and heartbreaking series of events.

The film explores themes of love, jealousy, betrayal, and sacrifice, and the impact they have on the lives of the characters. It portrays the struggles of women in society, particularly those who are unmarried or divorced, and the societal pressure on them to conform to expected norms of behavior. The film reflects the mores of the 19th century, as well as the constraints placed on women in a male-dominated society.

Bette Davis shines in her role as Delia Lovell, delivering a powerful performance as a woman who is forced to make difficult choices in life. She successfully portrays Delia's transformation from a young woman in love to a bitter spinster, to a mother who is willing to make sacrifices for her daughter's happiness. Miriam Hopkins, on the other hand, delivers a nuanced performance as Charlotte, playing her as both vulnerable and manipulative.

The chemistry between Davis and Hopkins is electric, and their scenes together are a highlight of the film. Davis and Brent also share good chemistry, making their love triangle a believable and engaging plotline. The rest of the cast, including Jane Bryan, William Lundigan, and Jerome Cowan, also deliver competent performances, adding depth to their characters.

The film's direction by Edmund Goulding is understated, but effective, making use of close-ups and reaction shots to heighten the emotional impact of the scenes. The costume design and production design are also noteworthy, effectively recreating the look and feel of the 19th century.

Overall, "The Old Maid" is a well-acted and engaging drama film that portrays the complexities of human relationships and the struggles of women in society. It offers a poignant commentary on the societal expectations placed on women, and the challenge of making difficult choices when faced with limited options. It is a must-watch for fans of Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins, as well as those who appreciate classic Hollywood dramas.

The Old Maid is a 1939 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4.

The Old Maid
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 35 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (4,021)