Bette Davis (Of Human Bondage)
Jerry Duveau Darrence: Paul Henreid (Casablanca)
Dr. Jackwith: Claude Raines (Casablanca)
Mrs. Henry Winkle Vale
Liza Vale brings Dr. Jackwith,
a prominent psychiatrist, to visit her sister-in-law, Charlotte Vale. Liza is
afraid Charlotte is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. During his visit to the
Vale's Boston home, Dr. Jackwith learns that Charlotte has indeed been suffering
under her mother's too-strict regulation--a regulation bordering on absolute domination.
Ten years ago she stopped Charlotte's one and only ocean-cruise romance, and presently
she tells Charlotte what to do, where to go, what to eat, and what to wear. Further
strained and upset by the effort to tell Dr. Jackwith her feelings, and by the
teasing of her niece, June, Charlotte breaks down completely. Dr. Jackwith recommends
a rest at Cascades, his sanitarium in Vermont.
Following her recovery, Charlotte takes an ocean cruise. Charlotte is a new woman: she is still reserved, but now she is also poised. After an incredible make-over, her ugly dresses and unbecoming hairstyle gone, she is beautiful. But some events seem fated to repeat themselves: on this cruise, as on the first, she falls in love. Jerry returns her love--indeed, perhaps he loved her first. Unfortunately, he is a married man. At the end of the cruise, they part, but the love they have shared gives each of them the confidence to try new things. Charlotte's irascible and domineering mother awaits her return in Boston. They resume life together, but now Charlotte is able to establish her independence, and also to find a interested suitor in Elliot Livingston. Chance brings Charlotte and Jerry together again, and this meeting, as well as Elliot's insensibility to her needs, convinces Charlotte that she would be unhappy with Elliot. The death of her mother and the breaking of her engagement drive Charlotte to the edge of a second breakdown.
At Cascades again, Charlotte meets Tina, Jerry's child. Tina, a confused, withdrawn, sensitive and lonely little girl, has been sent to Cascades to ease the tension in Jerry's home--tension caused by Jerry's jealous wife. Charlotte, feeling pity for and empathy with Tina, offers to take Tina to live with her in Boston. At last Jerry and Charlotte can share something together in the raising of Tina.
In Now Voyager we notice an directing style which emphasizes medium-length, horizontal
and static shots. The interior settings quietly convey a
sense of cagedness, and also symbolize Charlotte's introverted character. With the exception of a few flashbacks, the editing is smooth, even slow. Dialogue, voice-overs, and letters are used to inform the viewer of the plot. Using cigarettes, hands, shoes and the house's central staircase, the movie develops an internal symbol-system to convey its story of voyage and release.