Dark Victory

Dark Victory is a highly emotional, unforgiving piece of classical cinema about the choices one might make when learning of imminent death. Bette Davis stars in one of her most sensitive and magnetic roles, for which she was again nominated for an Academy Award—a regular occurrence by 1939. As Judith (a role originated on Broadway by Tallulah Bankhead), Davis plays a young Long Island socialite with a carefree attitude toward life, who suddenly begins to experience unexpected accidents that lead to a very serious diagnosis by a brain researcher Dr. Frederick Steele (George Brent). When Judith learns the truth—following her engagement to Steele—she realizes that she must try to enjoy life before it’s unceremoniously taken from her. Dark Victory, a gut-wrenching yet crucial film from Hollywood’s most storied year, is, “even by the standards of a typical Bette Davis melodrama…an embarrassment of riches.”—Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine.

Appears in: Bette & Joan

Genres: Melodrama

Other Films by Edmund Goulding

Grand Hotel

Featuring a veritable who’s-who of MGM royalty during the studio’s heyday, including an ascendant Greta Garbo, Barrymores John and Lionel, Wallace Beery, and a sultry, seductive Joan Crawford in an early featured role, Grand Hotel is a clear precursor for the kitchen-sink, domestically-focused dramas of Robert Altman and Paul Thomas Anderson, and was a mid-career