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Rick’s Actual/Reel Life: Bette VS Miriam: “Previous Acquaintance” 1943


Bette Davis & Miriam Hopkins toast one another on the finish of “Previous Acquaintance.” 
AFTER their two hour appearing bout!

by no means noticed 1943’s Previous Acquaintance till
I wrote this essay—gasp!—however have caught
the well-known shakedown scene between sparring stars Bette Davis and Miriam
are inclined to gravitate towards Davis in her “unhealthy Bette” roles and this film appeared soapy
and sappy. The WB movie was based mostly on the Broadway hit by John Van Druten, famed
for sensible stage comedies, so I used to be pleasantly shocked. 

The well-known second from “Previous Acquaintance.” Bette shakes Miriam like a Polaroid digital camera!

Previous Acquaintance takes place over a close to twenty years within the
rocky course of Package Marlowe and Millie Drake’s friendship. Davis’ Package is a
sensible, no-nonsense author of critically acclaimed however commercially-challenged
books. Hopkins’ Millie, an indulged younger spouse, is perpetually aggressive with
Package. Along with her bestie’s assist, Millie needs to be a broadcast writer, too.
Nevertheless, the foolish however steel-willed Millie needs to put in writing industrial crowd-pleasers, and ultimately succeeds.

Miriam Hopkins & Bette Davis as life-long buddies & rivals in “Previous Acquaintance.”

Over time, Package
turns into near Millie’s husband Preston, and daughter Deirdre, which turns into
a bone of rivalry. Millie manages to wreck her marriage all by herself,
but has no drawback in making an attempt to pin the blame on Package. Within the last act,
Millie’s husband plans to remarry, her daughter is a grown lady, and Package has a
youthful beau. All involves a head when Millie discovers Preston professed his
like to Package, and daughter Deirdre is in love with Package’s younger man. 

The roles of Package and
Millie supply a discipline day for Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins. The celebs have been
re-teamed for Previous Acquaintance after
their 1938 hit, The Previous Maid. As soon as
once more, Bette is the subdued, extra sympathetic one, and Miriam is the glamorous gadfly.
Curiously, these two films have been the most important hits from Miriam Hopkins’
main girl days. Hopkins has a ball because the high-strung trash novel author.
Miriam’s efficiency as a comic book bitch is far more on-target than Candice
Bergen’s hit-and-miss efficiency within the remake, Wealthy and Well-known. Miriam’s kinetic vitality is humorous, but fearsome. Hopkins, an even bigger star in the course of the first
half of the ‘30s, was additionally six years older than Davis, however now Bette was the
greater star. Nevertheless, Hopkins greater than held her personal in Previous Acquaintance!

Artwork imitating life? Miriam Hopkins & Bette Davis dig deep into their psyches to play frenemies! 

As for Bette Davis, I
notably loved her relaxed efficiency as Package within the character’s youthful
years. An idealized portrait of the Davis persona, Package is wryly humorous,
sensible, easy, and sympathetic. Davis performs with restraint towards
Hopkins’ dervish of a diva. This works for the film and their performances.

Bette Davis as younger Package Marlowe in “Previous Acquaintance.” If that identify sounds acquainted, it is as a result of that is what Columbia’s Harry Cohn needed to call Kim Novak!

Whereas Bette has nice
moments because the 40-something Package, Davis turns relatively first lady-ish, as critic
James Agee famous of her later WB performances. Bette snaps her strains as crisply
as when Margo Channing chomps that celery stick in All About Eve. Additionally, why would wise Package slather on extra make-up
and sport a sweet cane-style silver streak in her hair? Nonetheless, Bette has some
stellar scenes, as when Package and the younger beau are at cross functions concerning
marriage. Davis’ finale with Hopkins, as they toast one another in friendship,
is genuinely satisfying. Some critics carped as to why these two ladies have been
buddies within the first place. Properly, I’ve had some unlikely friendships that I’ve
generally questioned, too!

Shellacking Bette Davis with make-up and a silver streak appears out of
character for the older Package Marlowe. With Gig Younger.

I discovered Previous Acquaintance’s story surprisingly
grownup for the period, with some nice strains, and plot turns. The one main beef I
have is with the final act. I understand older films and performs had conventions
that have been lower than real looking. However Previous
has one which’s simply illogical: Package places off youthful beau
Rudd’s marriage proposal. Rejected, he instantly is charmed by Deirdre, who
he has simply referred to as a spoiled brat. They now immediately fall in love. Beau goes
again to Package, to inform her he’ll now marry Deirdre. And the younger lady is harm
when she finds out Rudd had deliberate to marry Package. If the previous romance was a
secret, I missed that plot level! If this had been offered progressively, it
can be extra plausible. 

Although Package acts as a surrogate mom towards Dolores Moran’s Dierdre, she later is shocked that Gig Younger’s Rudd was romancing Bette’s author. John Loder at left.

John Loder as Preston
Drake is strong if not thrilling; Delores Moran is first rate as daughter Diedre, however
I can see why her profession did not go anyplace. Anne Revere has a scrumptious bit as
a pointy reporter. I used to be shocked to search out that Package’s good-looking younger beau was Gig
Younger. Simply 5 years youthful than Davis, Younger is impossibly youthful and lovely;
a far cry from his later craggy attractiveness that have been marred by alcoholism.

Gig Younger was at all times distinguished, however I had no thought he was so good-looking.

Vincent Sherman does
one other good job with a “lady’s image” as they have been as soon as referred to as.
He retains the episodic story shifting and trendy, in addition. Sherman retains the
women from chewing the surroundings. I am certain the WB director had his work reduce out
for him, as this was Bette and Miriam’s appearing bout all the way in which.

Bette Davis & Miriam Hopkins feud was thus publicized on their first movie, “The Previous Maid!”

Previous Acquaintance is much superior to the dreary remake, 1981’s Wealthy and Well-known. Star and producer
Jacqueline Bisset opted for the Davis position, with Candice Bergen solid because the
crass pulp author. Whereas Bisset is a refined actress and Candice has a aptitude for
comedy, their remake felt much more old school than the unique, regardless of the
intercourse scenes. Bisset’s author is not simply severe, however morose by a lot of the
film. Whereas Candice is commonly enjoyable because the catty rival, Pauline Kael rightly
pegged Bergen as giving a drag queen efficiency and that Bisset’s character
is extra of a homosexual male fantasy. I believed this watching Wealthy and Well-known as a result of it jogged my memory of criticism about Intercourse and the Metropolis. Maybe it is because
homosexual males have been on the helm of the respective productions?

All eyes again on Previous Acquaintance: If you wish to watch a
fashionable comedy-drama, with two nice stars creating sparks, Previous Acquaintance is a superb match. 


FYI: I put all of the film overflow on my public FB  film
web page. 

Test it out & be a part of!


Bette as older Package in “Previous Acquaintance.” Off-screen, Davis was working to type
the Stage Door Canteen, to learn WWII troops.


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