7.5/10
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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.

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writers:

Casey Robinson (screen play), George Emerson Brewer Jr. (from the play by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Judith Traherne
George Brent ... Dr. Frederick Steele
Humphrey Bogart ... Michael O'Leary
Geraldine Fitzgerald ... Ann King
Ronald Reagan ... Alec
Henry Travers ... Dr. Parsons
Cora Witherspoon ... Carrie
Dorothy Peterson ... Miss Wainwright
Virginia Brissac ... Martha
Charles Richman ... Col. Mantle
Herbert Rawlinson ... Dr. Carter
Leonard Mudie ... Dr. Driscoll
Fay Helm ... Miss Dodd
Lottie Williams 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 | Plot 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dark Victory See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This was Bette Davis' biggest moneymaker up to that point in her career. See more »

Goofs

When Judith is in the office of Dr. Steele looking through the various medical letters, she finds a translation of Dr. Heinzig's diagnosis. The letter, however, contains the letterhead of Dr. Steele when it should have the letterhead of whoever did the translation. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michael O'Leary: [on the phone] Hello, there. Is this the house? I've been trying to get you.
Miss Wainwright: Michael, do you realize it's 5:30 in the morning?
Lucy - a Servant: Who is it Agatha?
Miss Wainwright: [to Lucy] That Michael.
[agitatedly to Michael as a different phone line rings]
Miss Wainwright: We had a party last night and the last guest hasn't driven out of the driveway yet.
Lucy - a Servant: [answering the other ringing line] Hello, kitchen. Lucy speaking... yes Miss Ann.
Ann King: [irritatedly in bed] What's that racket? The telephone's been ringing all over the house... I'll ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in computer-coloured version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Women He's Undressed (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Vienna Blood
(1873) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
Played at the restaurant
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Edmund Goulding puts Bette Davis on a Stairway to Heaven
14 October 2011 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Long Island heiress Bette Davis (as Judith Traherne) suffers from headaches and vision problems, but doesn't want her partying, socialite lifestyle hampered by doctor's visits. However, after falling off her horse and down the stairway, Ms. Davis' family physician arranges for her to visit brain specialist George Brent (as Frederick Steele). Her self-described "reasonable quantity" of tobacco and alcohol does not seem to be a factor in Davis' declining health. Dr. Brent finds Davis in dire straits and operates on her brain almost immediately. The two fall in love, also...

Davis seems to recover, but finds a file describing her condition as "prognosis negative." She asks, "What does prognosis mean?" and "What does negative mean?" Really...

This film confirmed Davis as a box office favorite; she was listed in the annual top ten "Quigley Poll" for the first time, in sixth place. Davis' performance was in the running for year's best, behind "Academy Award" winner Vivien Leigh ("Gone with the Wind") and "New York Film Critics" runner-up Greta Garbo ("Ninotchka"). "Dark Victory" is a marvelous movie star performance vehicle, but less of a film. Davis receives great support from Brent and especially Geraldine Fitzgerald (as Ann King). Irish-accented Humphrey Bogart (as Michael O'Leary) is amusing.

******** Dark Victory (4/20/39) Edmund Goulding ~ Bette Davis, George Brent, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Humphrey Bogart


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