One of the undisputed classics of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Irving Rapper’s 1942 romantic drama NOW, VOYAGER, stars the indomitable Bette Davis in an Oscar-nominated performance that is one of the greatest of her career. Back on the big screen from 6 August 2021, it will be re-released by BFI Distribution in selected cinemas UK-wide. It will screen at BFI Southbank on an extended run, a highlight of a major season dedicated to the legendary star; one of the most fearless and powerful women to come through the Hollywood studio system. The season will run throughout August – more details to be announced soon.
Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis), a troubled young woman subjected to years of emotional abuse at the hands of her wealthy domineering mother Mrs Henry Vale (fellow Oscar-nominee Gladys Cooper), is treated at a Vermont hospital by a kindly psychiatrist, Dr Jaquith (Davis’s favourite co-star Claude Rains). With an interest in helping others in need and before returning home, she takes a cruise and falls for the married architect Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid). At the end of the voyage, Jerry must return to his jealous and cruel wife and Charlotte must be reunited with her mother, leaving both of them unclear as to whether they can ever be happy. (Justin Johnson, BFI).
NOW, VOYAGER’s depiction of characters with mental health issues and the treatment available is remarkably enlightened for its time and it easily stands up today as a taut psychological drama and an inspiring tale of physical and spiritual transformation. With Max Steiner’s glorious Oscar-winning score and great performances all round, NOW, VOYAGER is one of the true greats of Hollywood’s Golden Age and makes for a classic big screen cinema experience this summer.