I deserve props. Last night, I sat through Now, Voyager without rolling my eyes … more than three times.
Do I get a prize? The Max Steiner Schmaltz Award for Tear-jerker Toleration?
More likely, this feat will fly under the radar. Especially since Voyager seems to be lauded by every film buff in the world but me.
I’m missing something, right? The charm of a story in which a damaged, fearsomely eyebrowed (and mothered) woman, played by Bette Davis, becomes the talk of the town and the blatant object of desire for every gainfully employed blue blood in Massachusetts, as well as the lover of an uncatchable architect taking the form of Paul Henreid. The irony surrounding her care of said architect’s melancholy daughter. The romance of Steiner’s repetitious, Oscar-winning score.
I tell you, I felt like blasting a bit of the old Ludwig van on the stereo after hearing Voyager‘s main musical motif for the thousandth time yesterday evening. Please, Max—for the love of all that is viscous, stop the melody; I want to get off!
The fact is, I found the movie horrid. Ludicrous situations abound—such as the scene in which Claude Rains’ doctor OKs Davis, a former patient, being nurse to her married beau’s daughter. And the script is like an exercise in manipulation, with every stop in the book pulled out to draw tears down the most reptilian of cheeks.
Well, I must be a crocodile, because it didn’t work for me.
Ms. Davis was a talented actress, and I’m partial to a number of her films, including The Man Who Came to Dinner. Voyager, however, didn’t float my boat. Perhaps someday I’ll discover why this much-venerated movie impresses so many fans. For now, though, I’m happy to praise the moon over the stars.