Movie Diary 2/27/2023

The Letter (William Wyler, 1940). This film will launch our next semester of Scarecrow Academy, 10 weeks of free online film discussions (there’s no homework involved, except watching the movie) on the subject of “Women in Trouble: Great Melodrama in Film.” Check out the entire line-up and poster at the Scarecrow Academy page, and sign up to join us via Zoom on Saturday 3/4 at 2 pm Pacific Time. This movie’s led by one of the leading faces of Hollywood melodrama, Bette Davis, and impeccably directed – I think we’ll have some delicious things to talk about.

Now, Voyager (Irving Rapper, 1942). Taking another look at another Davis melodrama, one of the signature titles in the genre of the “women’s picture,” the story of an ugly duckling who swans into a new existence. Warners put their production muscle behind this one, and Max Steiner is working overtime with the music. In the figure of gentle shrink Claude Rains, the movie also coincides with Hollywood’s romance with golden-era psychiatry.


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