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The Old Maid (1939) Poster

(1939)

Trivia

To get the effects of aging, Bette Davis didn't wear any eye makeup or lipstick, and makeup artist Perc Westmore used a pale, ashen base on her face.
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There was a lot of bad blood between Miriam Hopkins and Bette Davis. Davis had won an Oscar For "Jezebel", a role that Hopkins had played on Broadway and had expected to play in the movie. To make things worse, Davis had had an affair with Anatole Litvak, Hopkins' husband, while making "The Sisters".
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Warner Brothers publicity department took full advantage of the dueling divas and played up their feud to boost ticket sales for the upcoming film. They even went as far as to circulate a photo of the actresses in full costume with boxing gloves on, ready to duke it out, with director Goulding looking resigned between them.
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On her first day on the set, Hopkins wore an exact duplicate of the dress Davis had worn in Jezebel. Davis reflected on this time with Hopkins in her autobiography with the following observations "Miriam used and, I must give her credit, knew every trick in the book. I became fascinated watching them appear one by one. When she was supposed to be listening to me, her eyes would wander off into some other world in which she was the sweetest of them all. Her restless little spirit was impatiently awaiting her next line, her golden curls quivering with expectancy."
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The 1935 Pulitzer Prize-winning play opened at the Empire Theatre in New York on Jan. 7, 1935 and ran for 305 performances. The leads were played by Judith Anderson and Helen Menken. Marjorie Lord, who later gained fame as the wife of Danny Thomas on TV's The Danny Thomas Show (1953), was a replacement cast member in a supporting role. Producer-Director Ernst Lubitsch bought the rights to the play, intending to star both Judith Anderson and Helen Menken in a Paramount production, but the rights were later sold to Warner Bros. in January 1939.
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Humphrey Bogart was originally cast as the male lead, but dismissed after four days' filming.
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The Old Maid was excellent box office, and Warners signed Miriam on for another spin with her nemesis in 1943 to make Old Acquaintance.
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Bette Davis's characters in both The Old Maid and Now, Voyager were named Charlotte. They both were involved with a child named Tina. Bette starts out in similar makeup in Now, Voyager to the makeup she ended up in in The Old Maid. In both films she played characters referred to as "old maids".
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 30, 1939 with Miriam Hopkins reprising her film role.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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