Old Maid keyart

The Old Maid

Original Theatrical Date: September 2, 1939

Bette Davis stars in this tangled tale of life and love unsatisfied, as a Civil War era single mother, forced to let her romantic rival raise her daughter.

"She's just a sour old maid who hates me because I'm young and attractive and in love!" Headstrong, beautiful Tina has nothing but disdain for her Aunt Charlotte. What could she know of a young girl's heart? A great deal, in fact. For unloved, unlovable Aunt Charlotte is really Tina's mother, whose romance with a Civil War soldier who didn't return resulted in Tina's birth and a lifetime of maternal sacrifice.

As Charlotte, Bette Davis gives one of her most nuanced performances, aging from wide-eyed girl to gray-haired martinet. Miriam Hopkins provides effective counterbalance with her portrayal of Charlotte's effusive cousin, who raises Tina. Two women, one child, and a brilliant example of melodrama as art.

Genre: RomancePeriod DramaComedy