Elizabeth Montgomery & Anthony Hopkins star in this three hour remake of the 1939 Bette Davis George Brent classic tear-jerker.
Miss Montgomery is Katherine Merrill, sucessful television producer whose driven devotion to her job masks the emptiness of her life. Suffering from headaches & blurred vision, which she attributes to tension, she reluctantly visits a doctor (Hopkins) - who discovers that she has a malignant brain tumor and only a few months to live.
From that tragic discovery, the film evolves into a love story between the woman who has no hope and the doctor who gave her courage.
Also starring Michele Lee as Dolores.
"Liz the Light of 'Dark Victory'"
By Bill Barrett
(Article dated: 2/6/76 "The Cleveland Press")
Elizabeth Montgomery is television's finest young actress, and last night she almost snatched victory from the slack jaws of boredom.
"Dark Victory," that is. NBC-TV: had another go at the familiar story of love triumphant over death. It began at 8 on Channel 3 and wandered on and on and on into the night until almost 11.
There just isn't that much story there. A young woman falls victim to a malignant brain tumor, falls in love with her doctor, marries him and lives out her precious few days immersed in life and love, knowing what lies inevitably ahead.
It is a sad little story, the kind we blase types like to call soap operas, but properly handled it can be deeply moving.
It was not properly handled in this latest of three "Dark Victory" attempts. It was simply too long.
Miss Montgomery battled valiantly against the snail-paced script. Her best weapon was the Big Cry.
No one weeps more convincingly than Elizabeth Montgomery. Those big eyes get even bigger; they shine with tears; her chin gets all wrinkly and, best of all, her pert little nose gets red.
This is how women look when they cry -- except most Hollywood ladies, that is, who are much too neat about it.
I can't remember how Bette Davis cried when she played the stricken woman in her "Dark Victory," the first of the films, back in 1939. I can only remember how she smoked cigarets.
Miss Davis played it regally, almost arrogantly, and perhaps her moments of softness, coming as they did with the impact of complete contrast, were more effective.
Miss Montgomery was all vulnerability last night -- wide-eyed, innocent, never more seductive than a Girl Scout might be with a special on the vanilla wafers. it was a properly moving portrayal.
The gifted Anthony Hopkins, on the other hand, was a disappointingly weak character as the neurologist who marries his fatally stricken patient.
It was he, in fact, who looked and acted sick, his eyes downcast, his manner distracted, his sorrow ultimately merely embarrassing. Well, that's poor direction for you.
Michele Lee, as Miss Montgomery's best friend, had one of the least
rewarding roles in American theater, being called upon simply to sympathize with all her might for three hours.
And the cast of that oldie (1939) included George Brent as the properly strong doctor, Humphrey Bogart as a stable boy and Ronald Reagan in a forgettable role.
The story was told a second time in a 1963 film that had Susan Hayward playing the lead in an English settings. Miss Hayward was to die years later of the same kind of malignancy that she pretended in the film.
Neither of the first two movies were as long as last night's effort in which Miss Montgomery played a TV producer, a contemporary adjustment that hardly qualifies as innovation.
The too-long film was helped by two assets--the splendid Miss Montgomery and a nice-touch ending:
The woman knows now that the end is near and she leaves work and comes home and waits by the sea, afraid, for her husband to arrive. And when she looks up and sees him through fading vision, her face lights up with a glowing smile.
Freeze-frame. The end. I liked that.
NOTE: Of course any Elizabeth Montgomery fan would disagree with the negative comments made about this tele-movie. The length is something TV audiences of the 70's may not have been used to. Looking at this film now, it seems even more powerful & moving, knowing that our Liz must have endured similar circumstances.
I'm looking for any color Liz photo from this movie
"DARK VICTORY" PHOTO GALLERY
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View Mexican "Dark Victory" Lobby Cards #1 and #2, #3 and an Insert from Australia.
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Starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Anthony Hopkins.
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