After a friend suggests giving up any artistic ambitions he has, sensitive and club-footed Philip Carey (Leslie Howard) enrols in medical school. In a local café he meets and falls in love with brash and uneducated waitress Mildred Rogers (Bette Davis). This first film adaptation of Somerset Maugham's tragic love story is considered by many to be the best.
Years ago I purchased the Roan Group DVD of this title, originally released in 1999 as part of a "Pre-Code Hollywood" set. I was not unhappy with the transfer quality considering the age of the film, but I assumed that this "remastered" version being offered by Kino would be an improvement. It is not, in fact on the contrary. I don't know where Roan got their source for this public domain film, but the Library of Congress print used here must be inferior. Perhaps because the print is darker, the Roan version appears to have more detail than this new release, which looks lighter and hazier. The various ticks, scratches and whatnot are rather more obvious and annoying in this version, to the point where it seems clear to me that very little effort went into "remastering" the LoC print. Unless Criterion decides to do a proper restoration of this film, whatever DVD version of this film you decide to buy currently available is a pick'em choice. As for the film itself, Bette Davis' great performance is the kind of reality no actress today would be brave--or honest--enough portray.
I was looking forward to this production because it was hailed as a recently re-mastered piece. But video, especially, falls way short of anything done by UCLA/Criterion Collection. The movie itself is well worth seeing, particularly for those who have read the book or seen the other two versions with Eleanor Parker and Kim Novak, respectively. This version, with Bette Davis, should be #1, but re-mastering will be needed again, probably by UCLA. Save your money now and wait for a broadcast on TCM, or for the inevitable Criterion Collection release.
It was sooo many years ago when I saw this movie and I was drawn to it. The movie has a good story line. BUT the film itself was of poor quality and grainy. I was very disappointed! With moderation I thought the film would be of much better quality. Good movie but poor quality of the film.
The rating is for the movie itself, which is sensational. The so-called remastered print is still fuzzy and missing a lot of contrast, but I understand that the original negative seems to have been lost or destroyed decades ago. I wonder if Turner has a better print