Uh, that's one bizarre solution to a relationship. Would someone actually do what Jerry agreed to do? Apart from that, a solid "let's bond over cigarette smoke" melodrama from Rapper with traditional melodrama ingredients, without appearing too cheesy and ridiculous, and a closing line worthy of remembering. Davis isn't any less alluring as a classy lady than as a freakish bitch.
One of Davis’ most delicate roles, portraying a woman for whom independence is greater than money, comfort, or even love. Her saucer eyes were never more expressive than here—two crystalline dams perpetually on the verge of loosing the Red Sea. Though her ultimate happiness defaults to pseudo-motherhood, the film’s preoccupation with free-will makes it an early feminist work gussied up in the trappings of melodrama.
The sentiment is noble and there are big ideas in this film, but it's hard to say that it aged well. Now, Voyager didn't portray the way people went about life and love then and it certainly doesn't do it now. Love Affair (i.e.), done a few years early, is a better melodrama. Still, Rapper's work is often intriguing and Davis and Henreid's relationship is undoubtedly to die for.
Sublime! Bette is as enchanting as a sophisticated society lady as she is a mousy shut-in. Before Now, Voyager I had only seen Dangerous and Jezebel, and I was shocked to see a Bette character possess traits like manners and a temper. In one of her most subdued roles, she radiates an eagerness for her craft that is invigorating. Her on-screen sister June is also played by a person named "Bonita Granville." Charming.
Bette Davis wasn't a great actress: she was a weird actress. Unattractive, never seductive (even when "performing" seduction), and always with a sense of aristocratic entitlement encasing her performances, she was only truly great when playing the shrew or the insufferable brat. Sympathetic roles always betrayed her, as here, where she plays an ugly duckling who is granted not the moon, the stars, an extra cigarette.
An absolutely brilliant melodrama...despite all the ingredients for a camp classic, it thankfully skirts that realm and I think the presence of Rains & Cooper have a lot to do with that...and Davis clearly refuses to raise her performance to the levels she would later on.