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The Anniversary
The Anniversary
Actors: Bette Davis, Sheila Hancock, Jack Hedley, James Cossins, Christian Roberts
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Comedy, Drama
UR     2006     1hr 35min

The legendary Bette Davis stars as Mrs. Taggart, a venomous one-eyed matriarch who ? despite her husband being long dead ? demands her three grown sons gather for her 40th anniversary. Eldest Henry is a mild-mannered cross...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Bette Davis, Sheila Hancock, Jack Hedley, James Cossins, Christian Roberts
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Creators: Harry Waxman, Peter Weatherley, Jimmy Sangster, Bill MacIlwraith
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Comedy, Classics
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 04/04/2006
Original Release Date: 02/07/1968
Theatrical Release Date: 02/07/1968
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 01/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a surprisingly deft black comedy with Bette Davis at her most wicked. The screenplay by Jimmy Sancster, which is adapted from a play written by Bill MacIlwraith, retains the flavor of a stage play. Bette Davis plays the role of Mrs. Taggart, the wealthy, flamboyant, one eyed, matriarchal head of a family of three grown sons, all of whom kowtow to her every whim. She knows all their weak points and uses her knowledge to check mate them and head them off at the pass, should they get any ideas about getting out from under her thumb. Though her despised husband has been dead for ten years, she still celibrates her wedding anniversary by having her three sons home for a celebration, and a motley crew they are, indeed. When they show up this year for the anniversary celebration, however, they decide to shake up old mom by making a break for freedom from her rule. Trust me, this will cost them dearly.Bette Davis is outrageous and lights up the screen, as she hams it up delightedly. The dialogue is rapier sharp and brilliantly witty, allowing Ms. Davis to dazzle as she chews up the scenery. Looking every inch the fabulous doyenne that she is, she wears an eye patch color coordinated to match every one of her colorful outfits. This is an entertaining black comedy that all Bette Davis fans will, undoubtedly, enjoy."
Ultimate camp classic.
Matthew McWilliams | 02/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If you want to see Bette at her most outrageous and flamboyant, you've come to the right place! Here she plays the diabolical Mrs Taggart who, hands down, would win the "Most Dominating & Manipulative Mother" award. She has three sons, one a transvestite, one a coward, and one (a little harder to control) with a new fiance to whom Davis requests: "Would you mind sitting elsewhere? Body odour offends me". Davis looks like she has a field day playing the part, as most viewers will have watching the film. The film is chock full of good lines. Eg: To the cross-dressing Henry: "Wouldn't you like to get help, to stop being a pervert?" to which he replies "I like being one". The film is a full-scale opera of black humour, devious cunning, manipulation and aggression. What more could you want?"
Bette Dearest
Review Lover | At a place... | 06/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"You really have to hand it to the Movie Divas of yesterday, don't you?

I mean, when faced with financial and professional stagnation, what did they do? Go on Oprah and whine about bankruptcy? No. Turn to drugs and make enormous fools of themselves in the National Press? No chance. Did they suddenly discover a 'cause' to get themselves back in the spotlight, in vainglorious hopes of getting more movie roles sent their way? Nope. Or did they even retire graciously and quietly, living out the winters of their lives in seclusion and silence? Oh, my, but no.

They made movies like this one!!

Joan Crawford did 'Trog' and 'Berserk', Lana Turner appeared in 'Madame X' and 'The Big Cube', Shelley Winters had 'Cleopatra Jones' and a string of memorable TV appearances, and of course, La Bette Davis made, among others, 'The Anniversary'.

For which I, for one, will be eternally grateful.

'The Anniversary' isn't a great movie in terms of supporting cast, direction, or script. Even the production design is a little flat, a little stagey. But Bette shines - absolutely radiates star power - in this oftentimes-slow twilight years Star Vehicle, as Mrs. Taggart, the revoltingly machiavellian Matriarch of the highly dysfunctional Taggart clan. Gathering her sons and their other halves together on the occasion of her fortieth wedding anniversary, Mrs. Taggart, when faced with filial mutiny, does her level, manipulative best to put a stop to all forms of dissention, including disinheriting her grandchildren, turning her eldest cross-dressing son over to the police, and trying to frighten her would-be daughter-in-law into miscarrying her unborn child.

Sounds pretty grim, on paper - but Davis' perfectly pitched high camp performance saves this movie from being simply another late sixties melodrama. I mean, you'd hardly expect to find such a steel-willed woman playing with a Mannekin Pis-shaped watergun or french-kissing her youngest son in front of his siblings, but there you go: Davis clearly knew that she could have fun in this role, and have fun she does - and we're thrilled to be along for the ride.

Highly recommended as a candy-light, no-brainer campfest of huge proportions, 'The Anniversary' is an excellent addition to any comedy collection."
Highly Entertaining Black Comedy With Bette Davis At Her Mon
Simon Davis | 06/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hammer Studios are definately best known for their Gothic horror efforts usually starring horror icons Peter Cushing and Chrsitopher Lee, however on occasion they did stray from their usual product with often very pleasing results. "The Anniversary", has always been one of my great favourites among the body of work of both Hammer Studios and the legendary Bette Davis. Having already appeared in Hammer's dark drama "The Nanny", in 1965 Bette Davis took on a very different type of role for her second Hammer engagement playing a wonderfully over the top "mother from hell", who manipulates and controls her three weak willed sons in a macabre game of cat and mouse. Rarely in her later years did Davis have such a meaty role as in "The Anniversary", and she has the time of her life totally upstaging everyone and everything to unforgettable effect here. Her castrating and caustic mother makes "Mommie Dearest", look like a sunday school teacher and audiences are guaranteed a grand old time watching one of Hollywood's greatest acting legends dominating the screen from beginning to end and showing all and sundry what larger than life acting on screen is all about."