Mr Skeffington (1944)


The powerhouse that is Bette Davis is the subject of the latest blogathon, hosted by the lovely Crystal (In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood). So for this blogathon, I thought I’d write a little something about one of Bette’s lesser-known films, Mr Skeffington (1944), directed by Vincent Sherman. If you weren’t already pumped that Bette Davis is in it, here’s something else for ya: Claude Rains is in it too. I can almost hear you running down the stairs to go get the DVD. And so you should! Mr Skeffington is a great film, and if you like melodramatic films, you’ll love this one. It’s as melodramatic as  Douglas Sirk directing Greer Garson and Tyrone Power in a CinemaScope film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

Bette Davis plays Fanny Trellis, the most beautiful and sought-after girl in town. She boasts many suitors but doesn’t love any of them. The one man she loves is her brother and after she finds out that he has embezzled money from his boss, Job Skeffington (Claude Rains), she decides right then and there that she is going to marry Mr Skeffington. Their marriage and its ups and downs have a saga feel to it and no one else in Hollywood could have played Fanny Trellis like Bette. Every emotion known to man is there. It’s a great performance and one that I suspect impersonators have studied very, very carefully over the years. It is simultaneously an unusual performance for Bette Davis and the most Bette Davis-like performance ever, if that makes sense. Which I’m sure it doesn’t.

Both Bette Davis and Claude Rains were nominated for Oscars and rightfully so. Mr Skeffington probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves, but it’s one of those films that you can watch on a rainy afternoon with a nice cup of tea.

20 thoughts on “Mr Skeffington (1944)

    1. Haha! 😀
      I think Now, Voyager (1942) would be a good ‘first’ Bette Davis movie. Or maybe Dark Victory (1939). Mr Skeffington isn’t ‘first movie’ material, I don’t think. I mean, it’s great, but only after you’ve seen a few of her movies. All about Eve (1950) is the best and most famous, though. And one of my favourite movies ever 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  1. This film doesn’t receive a lot of attention these days which is too bad, because it’s a terrific film. Bette Davis is utterly fabulous here, as she goes from a young woman to a much older one.

    You’ve convinced me to run for my DVD to see it again! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. stevedallas

    At least (it sounds like) Claude gets the girl in this one. Kinda feel sorry for him in The Passionate Friends and even Notorious a little bit, despite the fact that he’s, you know, a Nazi! Poor Clause never gets the girl, even when he gets the girl! Speaking of The Passionate Friends, it’s a really good one for fans of melodrama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha indeed! That actually reminds me of that old quote by Ralph Bellamy ‘If I don’t get the girl at the end, at least give me more money!’ lol
      I’ll have to check out The Passionate Friends.

      Liked by 1 person

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