Two of the greatest motion picture actresses of all timeBette Davis and Lillian Gishunite their legendary talents in this beautifully photographed, intensely emotional drama that offers unexpected and quite marvelous rewa... more »rds (The New York Times)! Libby (Davis) and Sarah (Gish) are widowed siblings who have vacationed for half a century at a seaside cottage in Maine. Now intheir eighties, the sisters have unexpectedly arrived at an impasse: While Sarah embraces change and the possibility of romance with a courtly Russian suitor (Vincent Price), the stubbornly bitter Libby rages at the inevitability of death. As the summer months wane, can Libby and Sarah rediscover the powerful bonds of memory, family and love?« less
"When I watched this as a young man of 20 I fell in love with it. It is not an action film. It is a beautiful story of deep characters as they find themselves having become old. It is a story of reclaiming yourself, even at the end of your days.It is one of the last films of Bette Davis and Vincent Price. They gave magnificent performances that I still treasure. I have waited a long time for this to come on DVD!! One of my favorite quotes is from Bette Davis. She was told by her sister that "Memories fade with time." Bette, portraying her blind sister, proudly proclaims in her best Bette Davisness - "That has not been my experience!""
A movie in its own class
Thomas Lapins | Orlando, Florida USA | 09/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great transfer and a great film. Lillian Gish's performance is a great insight for those who haven't reached their later years. She is wise and graceful, firm yet fair in her dealings with those around her and, especially, her difficult sister (Bette Davis). The story is of two sisters who have lived long and full lives now dealing with the realities of their advanced years and the remembrances of their long ago childhood spent in the very house on Cape Cod where Ms. Gish now lives. The dynamics between Gish and Davis reflects very real people. It is at times very tender and at times very tense. Yes, sisters yet very different human beings.
Vincent Price plays the older version of the part he played in 'Lauara.' He plays the sincere lady's man who has fallen on hard times, worn around the edges but one who can still charm the ladies.
The scenery is stunning. In fact, you can watch it for only the visuals. When this film is over one will not easily forget its impact and beauty. A keeper!"
An August Movie, Indeed
Ross E. Nelson | Casselton, North Dakota United States | 07/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget the Amazon editorial review of this movie. "Fatally soppy" indeed. There's nothing maudlin here at all. This is a perfectly observed movie by several giants of the movie screen: Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, and Vincent Price at their finest, with outstanding back-up by Ann Sothern and Harry Carey, Jr. It is a moving, melancholy, sometimes almost elegiac look at two elderly sisters in their picturesque Maine cottage, dealing with memories and mortality. The movie takes place over the space of one day, in the 1950s.
Bette Davis is Libby, the caustic blind sister who seems to thrive on bitterness and offending others. But she is also quite astute and, in the end, is the one holding out hope to see the whales of August, to see that change can be good even near the end of a long life.
Gish is the kind, long-suffering sister who owns the cottage, and is a widow like her sibling. She dearly misses her husband, dead for many decades, and wonders what to do with her irritable sister.
The sisters are visited by Tisha (Ann Sothern), the island gossiper and spark plug who is also beginning to really feel her age (she has just had her driver's license suspended). Also visiting is the courtly Maranov (Vincent Price), a refugee from imperial Russia who has lived off his mother's jewels and with friends all his life. A sport fisherman, he brings his catch to a dinner with the sisters, with Libby rebuffing him out loud for angling for more than just a meal.
There are frequent, peaceful scenery shots of the house and property, and of the sere yet beautiful cove and shoreline nearby. And always the gentle clanging of an old buoy in the cove, the same one that was there when the sisters were young and spry, and the whales came by every August. Handyman Harry Carey, Jr. is the one fly in the ointment. While injecting a perhaps useful counterpoint of noise and gruffness to this gentle movie, not to mention a bit of lament about how times are changing (tourists with their autos have discovered the island), he is quite profane. The movie didn't need this jarring quality, but I suppose a reputation as a "G"-type movie (my VHS is unrated) would be considered the kiss of death to adult viewers and yet this subtle a movie too boring for kids.
Such an extraordinary and rich story this movie enfolds. The contrast of youth and age; the way life "fools" us (a constant refrain with Libby); the sorrow of a long life and yet the promise of good things worth living for, and the perfect photography which precisely complements the movie's moods. This is superb filmmaking and acting. Understated but clear, this show will haunt your quiet moments. The older you get, the more you'll understand it.
Early in the movie Sarah asks Libby, who seems more irritable than usual, if something's wrong. "I'm all right," Libby replies in a way that the viewer finds out can be taken two ways, "just a touch of November in my bones." But there's always hope that a memento of their youth, the passage of the whales every August, will be there in their dotage.
This was the last or one of the last movies the principals in it made. It is a beautiful farewell and all the more touching because of it."
DVD offers best presentation in years
Brent Thompson | New London, PA USA | 10/13/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As you can see from the earlier reviews, this movie is well-loved. This is the first time since its release in 1987 it can be seen in its original aspect ratio. This DVD also brings alive the colors of the Maine island where these actors gave their final film performances. The print does suffer from small imperfections but are not very noticable. Sound is an unenhanced stereo. The disc offers no extras other than chapter selection. It is too bad a little more effort was not put into a film that is significant to the filmographies of the stars. Overall, if you have seen this movie on cable and enjoyed the fine acting you will be impressed with the visual improvements this DVD brings."
A "Whale" Of A Movie
Ross E. Nelson | 05/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a wonderful movie. I wish they would make it in a DVD. Five
talented veterans of the silver (and I do mean "silver") screen
all together in a beautiful story of golden ages and golden memories. Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Ann Sothern, Vincent Price
and Harry Carey Jr. are a joy to watch. I've watched this film
so many times I think I know all the lines, but I never tire of it. Five stars aren't enough to rate such stellar performances."