More than 25 years after her death, Bette Davis remains perhaps the greatest legend in the history of movies, but even a legend must have a period of adjustment. Her career took a slump after a series of "hag horrors" ("Baby Jane", "Sweet Charlotte", etc.) and the great Ms. Davis took pretty much everything she was offered just to keep working. Several of her films barely saw the light of day, and one of them is this interesting British drama where she plays a sort of earth mother, a kind, aging woman who lives in a boarding house and seems to be a confidante to everybody. When the quiet Michael Redgrave moves into the room next to hers, they begin a friendship that helps them deal with their obvious loneliness. He's at first reluctant to let her in, but as he realizes what life without people is like, he makes her a special friend. However, a young man (Alexis Kanner) who lives in the building professes jealousy, claiming that Redgrave is only after her money. But clues are dropped which gives the indication that it is Kanner who the real gold digger is, referring to the much older Davis as "princess" even though he's seeing younger women without her knowledge and lying to her about his whereabouts. "Without convictions, life is just a banana. Life is just a coffee grinder, and we're the coffee bean", is one of the pieces of advice Davis gives Kanner, and indeed, their relationship seems as strange as the literary quotes she drops. It's obvious that Davis's lovely character is suffering from desperate loneliness, and it's very parallel to her real life that she utilized as the title of one of her autobiographies, "The Lonely Life". Davis herself said in her old age that if she were to become involved with a man again, it would be a much younger one, and that is a very interesting comparison to her life here. Veteran British leading lady Kay Walsh is memorable as the owner of the building, while Olga Georges-Picot is lovely as the young lady Kanner is involved with whom he also betrays. It's just a shame that this really didn't see the light of day other than a few brief showings (most likely overseas and not in the states) and is a sweet artistic gem that deserves to be re-discovered.
Explores the relationships shared by the residents of a seedy boarding house in London.
May 29, 2020