AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Now, Voyager
Director: Irving Rapper (Dir)
Release Date:   31 Oct 1942
Production Date:   7 Apr--23 Jun 1942; retakes 3 Jul 1942
Duration (in mins):   117-118
Duration (in feet):   10,903 or 10,585
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Cast:   Bette Davis (Charlotte Vale)  
    Paul Henreid (Jerry Durrance)  
    Claude Rains (Dr. Jaquith)  
    Gladys Cooper (Mrs. Henry Vale)  
    Bonita Granville (June Vale)  
    John Loder (Elliot Livingston)  
    Ilka Chase (Lisa Vale)  
    Lee Patrick (Deb McIntyre)  
    Franklin Pangborn (Mr. Thompson)  
    Katherine Alexander (Miss Trask)  
    James Rennie (Frank McIntyre)  
    Mary Wickes (Dora Pickford)  
    Michael Ames (Dr. Dan Regan)  
    Charles Drake (Leslie Trotter)  
    David Clyde (William)  
    Frank Puglia (Giovanni)  
    Janis Wilson (Tina Durrance)  
    Claire Du Brey (Hilda)  
    Don Douglas (George Weston)  
    Charlotte Wynters (Grace Weston)  
    Lester Matthews (Captain)  
    Sheila Hayward (Katie)  
    Mary Field (Passenger)  
    Bill Edwards (Passenger)  
    Isabel Withers (Passenger)  
    Frank Dae (Passenger)  
    Yola d'Avril (Celestine)  
    Georges Renavent (M. Henri)  
    Bill Kennedy (Hamilton Hunneker)  
    Reed Hadley (Henry Montague)  
    Elspeth Dudgeon (Aunt Hester)  
    George Lessey (Uncle Herbert)  
    Ian Wolfe (Lloyd)  
    Constance Purdy (Rosa [O`Flynn])  
    Corbet Morris (Hilary)  
    Hilda Plowright (Justine)  
    Tempe Pigott (Mrs. Smith)  
    Dorothy Vaughan    

Summary: Dowdy, thirtyish Charlotte Vale lives with her dictatorial, aristocratic mother in a Boston mansion. Fearing that Charlotte is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, her sister-in-law Lisa brings psychiatrist Dr. Jaquith to the Vale home to examine her unobtrusively. Jaquith's observations and conversation with Charlotte convince him that she is, in fact, very ill, and he recommends that she visit his sanitarium, Cascade. Away from her domineering mother, Charlotte recovers quickly, but does not feel ready to return home and accepts Lisa's proposal of a long cruise as an alternative. On board the ship, a newly chic Charlotte is introduced to Jerry Durrance, who is also traveling alone. The two spend a day sight-seeing together, during which time the married Jerry asks Charlotte to help him choose gifts for his two daughters. Charlotte is touched when Jerry thanks her with a small bottle of perfume. Subsequently, Charlotte tells Jerry about her family and her breakdown and learns from his good friends, Deb and Frank McIntyre, that Jerry is unhappily married but will never leave his family. After the ship docks in Rio de Janeiro, Jerry and Charlotte become stranded on Sugarloaf Mountain and spend the night together. Having missed her boat, Charlotte stays with Jerry in Rio for five days before flying to Buenos Aires to rejoin the cruise. Although they have fallen in love, they promise not to see each other again. Back in Boston, Charlotte's family is stunned by her transformation. Her mother, however, is determined to regain control over her daughter. Charlotte's resolve to remain independent is strengthened by the timely arrival of some camellias. Although there is no card, Charlotte knows the flowers are from Jerry because he had called her by the nickname "Camille," and, reminded of his love, she is able to forge a new relationship with her mother. Charlotte eventually becomes engaged to eligible widower Elliot Livingston. One night, at a party, Charlotte encounters Jerry, who is now working as an architect, a profession he had renounced years before in deference to his wife's wishes. His youngest daughter Tina is now seeing Dr. Jaquith for her own emotional problems. Charlotte asks Jerry not to blame himself for their affair as she gained much from knowing that he loved her. This chance encounter forces Charlotte to realize that she does not love Elliot passionately, and they break their engagement, so angering Mrs. Vale that during an argument with Charlotte, she has a heart attack and dies. Guilty and distraught, Charlotte returns to Cascade, where she meets Tina. Seeing herself in the girl, Charlotte takes charge of her, with Jaquith's tentative approval. When Tina improves enough, Charlotte takes her home to Boston. Later, Jerry and Jaquith visit the Vale home, and Jerry is delighted by the change in Tina. Charlotte warns him, however, that she is only able to keep Tina with her on condition that she and Jerry end their affair. Jerry believes that he is responsible for her decision not to marry Elliot, but Charlotte reassures him otherwise, saying that Tina is his gift to her and her way of being close to him. Jerry then asks if Charlotte is happy and she responds, "Oh Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon; we have the stars." 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: A Hal B. Wallis Production
Brand Name: A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Irving Rapper (Dir)
  Edward Blatt (Dial dir)
  Sherry Shourds (Asst dir)
  Emmett Emerson (2nd asst dir)
Writer: Casey Robinson (Scr)
Photography: Sol Polito (Dir of photog)
  Al Greene (Cam op)
  Frank Evans (Asst cam)
  Bert Six (Stills)
  Charles O'Bannon (Gaffer)
Art Direction: Robert Haas (Art dir)
Film Editor: Warren Low (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Fred M. MacLean (Set dec)
  Scotty More (Props)
Costumes: Orry-Kelly (Gowns)
  Rydo Loshak (Ward)
  Marguerite Royce (Ward)
  Mary Deery (Ward)
Music: Hugh Friedhofer (Orch arr)
  Leo F. Forbstein (Mus dir)
  Max Steiner (Mus)
Sound: Robert B. Lee (Sd)
Special Effects: Willard Van Enger (Spec eff)
  Don Siegel (Mont)
Make Up: Perc Westmore (Makeup artist)
  Eddie Allen (Makeup)
  Martha Acker (Hair)
Production Misc: Al Alleborn (Unit mgr)
  Meta Carpenter (Scr clerk)
  Joseph Cramer (Best boy)
  Harold Noyes (Grip)
  Gilbert Souto (Tech adv)
Stand In: Phyllis Clark (Stand-in)
  George Becker (Stand-in)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel Now, Voyager by Olive Higgins Prouty (Boston, 1941).
Authors: Olive Higgins Prouty

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 31/10/1942 dd/mm/yyyy LP11662

PCA NO: 8341
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Melodrama
 
Subjects (Major): Love affairs
  Mothers and daughters
  Psychiatrists
  Spinsters
  Transformation
 
Subjects (Minor): Architects
  Boston (MA)
  Dowagers
  Engagements
  Fathers and daughters
  Mansions
  Nervous breakdown
  Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  Ships
  Sisters-in-law
  Voyages and travel
  Wealth

Note: The title of Olive Higgins Prouty's novel was taken from Walt Whitman's poem "The Untold Want." In a letter to literary agent Harold Ober included in the Warner Bros. Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library, Prouty made the following suggestions about the novel's adaptation: "...In my novel I tell my story by the method of frequent flashbacks....It has occurred to me, however, that by employing the silent picture for the flashbacks, in combination with the talking picture, similar results can be accomplished, and with much interest to an audience because of the novelty of the technique....I am one of those who believe the silent picture had artistic potentialities which the talking picture lacks. The acting, facial expressions, every move and gesture is more significant....Of course the silent picture has 'gone out' now, but I believe it has a place, for depicting what goes on in the mind of a character...."
       Various contemporary sources add the following information about the production: Mary Astor was first signed as the second female lead and Norma Shearer and Irene Dunne were approached to play the role of "Charlotte." Producer Hal Wallis sent Ginger Rogers a copy of Olive Higgins Prouty's novel, hoping to interest her in the film. Juanita Quigley tested for the role of "Tina." Director Edmund Goulding wrote a treatment for the film and, at that time, was scheduled to direct; later Michael Curtiz was assigned to direct the film. Some scenes were filmed on location in Laguna Beach, CA and the Cascade scenes were filmed at Lake Arrowhead, CA. Although Frank Puglia's character is called "Giovanni" in the film, contemporary reviews, the screenplay and the CBCS list it as "Manoel."
       According to modern sources, Prouty had written an elaborate cigarette-lighting ceremony for her characters, which proved too awkward to complete on film. In its place, Henreid invented a romantic gesture which has since become famous. He lit two cigarettes at the same time and handed one of the cigarettes to "Charlotte." Modern feminist critics have described Now Voyager as an "initiation" or "coming of age" film in which a psychologically immature woman becomes a self-determining adult and comment favorably on the accurate depiction of the mother-daughter relationship. Although contemporary critics derided the film as contrived and melodramatic, it was Warner Bros. fourth-highest grossing film in 1942 and has enjoyed an enduring popularity. Max Steiner won an Oscar for Best Score, and both Gladys Cooper and Bette Davis were nominated for Academy Awards. The film was adapted for radio and, starring Bette Davis and Gregory Peck, was broadcast on The Lux Radio Theatre on 11 Feb 1946 and 24 May 1955. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   22 Aug 1942.   
Daily Variety   17 Aug 42   p. 3.
Film Daily   17 Aug 42   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Feb 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Apr 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Apr 42   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Aug 42   p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner   12 Jan 1942.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   22 Aug 42   p. 853.
New York Times   23 Oct 42   p. 25.
Variety   19 Aug 42   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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