old-age: The Old Maid

The Old Maid

‘Longings that no man can fathom’: ah well, that explains why it left me cold.

Delia (Miriam Hopkins) breaks her engagement to Clem, in favor of wealthy Jim. Cousin Charlotte (Bette Davis) comforts Clem – putting it delicately – and becomes pregnant. Clem dies in the war before he can marry her, and Charlotte raises Charlotte’s illegitimate daughter as a ‘foundling’. When Jim’s brother falls in love with Charlotte, Delia destroys the forthcoming wedding out of spite, and eventually adopts Charlotte’s child for herself.

Charlotte grows old and bitter – a maiden aunt rather than a mother to her child.

The makeup

Perc Westmore was the makeup artist.

He aged both Bette Davis (thirty-one) and Miriam Hopkins (thirty-seven) and aged-down both the actresses for the youthful scenes.