Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

THE LONELY LIVE FOREVER April 1st


THE LONELY LIVE FOREVER (1937). Director: Dudley Foxwith.
In this lost Bette Davis film, unreleased for over seventy years due to legal problems, Davis plays a lonely woman who falls unrequitedly in love with her younger sister's boyfriend. She has to bravely suffer in silence as the two get married and go off to begin a life together. Davis wishes them happiness but can only wish that things had turned out differently. Then she suffers unbearable guilt when her sister (Mona Morgana) is killed in an automobile accident during her honeymoon. Davis tries her best to console her brother-in-law, trying to do the right thing while continually and hopelessly loving him, and has to watch helplessly as he romances a series of increasingly worthless women. Years go by, there are other marriages, including Davis' to an abusive husband, then she decides that once and for all she will tell the man she has loved for many years how she really feels about him. But just as she's on the verge of finding ultimate happiness fate takes a bitter turn ...

A tear jerker par excellence the movie features an especially intense and poignant performance from Davis as a woman who is tortured by feelings she'd rather not have yet manages to eke out a life for herself, disappointing as it is, in spite of it. The strong characterizations and poetic dialogue by Guillermo Schoen, much of it taken from his play, lift The Lonely Live Forever above the soap opera level. Co-star Ron Davide is excellent as Paul, the object of affection (The gifted young Davide tragically died of kidney failure only weeks after completing the film). This is a very touching and memorable film that is sure to inspire much debate among Davis' legion of admirers.

Verdict: Heartbreaking. ***1/2.

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