“Don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars…” In one of her definitive roles, Bette Davis plays the dowdy spinster aunt of a moneyed Boston family who withers under the thumb of her horrid harridan mother. That all changes when she meets Claude Rains’s kindly psychiatrist, who sets her on a path of self-determination: cue glamorous makeover, a South American cruise, and a life-changing dalliance with a charming fellow traveler (Paul Henreid), who happens to be married but is always ready with a cigarette. This glorious excursion into wish-fulfillment fantasy represents a peak of high-gloss soap thanks to plush cinematography, a throbbing Max Steiner score, and the incomparable Davis, who sells it all with tremulous, saucer-eyed intensity.
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