Bette Davis and Gig Young in Old Acquaintance (1943)


(director: Vincent Sherman; screenwriters: Lenore J. Coffee/John Van Druten/based on the play by Van Druten; cinematographer: Sol Polito; editor: Terry Morse; music: Franz Waxman; cast: Bette Davis (Kit Marlowe), Miriam Hopkins (Millie Drake), Gig Young (Rudd Kendall), John Loder (Preston Drake), Dolores Moran (Deirdre), Philip Reed (Lucian Grant), Roscoe Karns (Charlie Archer), Anne Revere (Belle Carter); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Henry Blanke; Warner Bros.; 1943)
“Crowd-pleasing women’s pic.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Vincent Sherman (“Mr. Skeffington”/”The Garment Jungle”/”Harriet Craig”) directs and Lenore J. Coffee writes this dated melodrama based on the play by John Van Druten.

It’s trashy soap opera but the director and the talented actresses Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins (reunited from their box office smash in The Old Maid, even though they didn’t get along off-stage) make it look passably intelligent and the crowd-pleasing women’s pic at times has some juice. George Cukor remade it in 1981 as Rich and Famous.

In 1924, the nice prize-winning novelist Kit Marlowe (Bette Davis) returns to her home town to give a lecture and reluctantly meets again her sour old acquaintance fellow novelist Millie Drake (Miriam Hopkins). Eight years later Millie is married to Preston (John Loder) and has an eight-year-old daughter Deirdre (Dolores Moran), and they are in New York City to attend the opening of Kit’s play. Millie is seen as the crass temperamental one, who writes only for money and lives a rich lifestyle as she has just written a best-seller. To complicate matters, a drunken Preston tells Kit that he loves her. She tries her best to patch up the broken marriage, but Preston separates and asks Kit to look after Deidre once in awhile. Some ten years later, during the beginning of the war, Kit is a Red Cross volunteer and broadcasts a request for money over the radio, which is heard by the now serviceman Preston. The serviceman phones her, and when they meet she has her current much younger lover, Rudd Kendall (Gig Young), bring Deidre along. As the tale goes, Kit turns down Rudd’s marriage proposal but he falls in love with the now teenager Deidre and asks her to marry him. This causes Millie to turn into a bitter pill and twist things around against Kit, as she’s still jealous that her ex-hubby loved Kit more and the ladies get into a cat fight (the movies highlight). Kit fires back at Millie, and after they both get things off their chest they make up. It ends with Millie telling Kit her new book, Old Acquaintance, will be a tale about two longtime women friends.


REVIEWED ON 10/12/2008 GRADE: C+