Sunday, February 06, 2011
Bette Davis Month Bonus: The Old Maid (1939)
Davis' Charlotte and Hopkins' Delia aren't actually sisters, but they might as well be: They're cousins raised together by their grandmother, and they have a very sisterly relationship. Delia is the favorite, the older cousin and the one who has her life on track. She marries a wealthy man with good standing after ditching her flaky boyfriend (perpetual Davis co-star George Brent), and has a couple of kids before her husband dies in a tragic accident. Charlotte, meanwhile, picks up Delia's leftovers by getting knocked up by Delia's shiftless ex, right before he goes off and gets himself killed during the Civil War. Delia gets to be self-righteous and superior about living the better life and raising Charlotte's illegitimate child (who never knows her true parentage), while Charlotte plays the martyr, always reminding Delia how she sacrificed all of her own happiness for the sake of her daughter.