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Mr. Skeffington

Mr. Skeffington

4.6 3
Director: Vincent Sherman, Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel

Cast: Vincent Sherman, Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel


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From a novel of the same name by "Elizabeth", the film begins in 1914, with Bette Davis cast as vain, flighty society woman Fanny Trellis. Informed by Jewish-American financier Job Skeffington (Claude Rains) that her brother Trippy (Richard Waring) has stolen money to pay his gambling debts, Fanny marries Job,


From a novel of the same name by "Elizabeth", the film begins in 1914, with Bette Davis cast as vain, flighty society woman Fanny Trellis. Informed by Jewish-American financier Job Skeffington (Claude Rains) that her brother Trippy (Richard Waring) has stolen money to pay his gambling debts, Fanny marries Job, securing his promise that he won't prosecute her thieving sibling. Angered by Fanny's agreeing to this loveless union, Trippy runs off to join the army, and is killed during World War I. Fanny holds Skeffington responsible for her brother's death, and demands a divorce with a generous cash settlement. Despite Job's oft-repeated belief that "a woman is only beautiful when she is loved," Fanny uses her coquettish beauty to flit indiscriminately from man to man. While on a sailing trip with her latest beau, Fanny comes down with diphtheria. The disease destroys her facial beauty, and before long the shallow Fanny is left completely alone. Her self-centered efforts to reunite all of her old boyfriends for a party is a failure due to her pathetic middle-aged efforts to be kittenish, and the grotesqueness of the mounds of facial makeup she apples. Meanwhile, Skeffington, who has resettled in Europe with his daughter, is captured by the Nazis and placed in a concentration camp. He manages to escape, returning to the US totally blind and utterly penniless. A chastened Fanny comes back to her husband, promising to care for him for the rest of his life. Most TV prints of Mr. Skeffington run 127 minutes; the videocassette and cable TV versions have been restored to the original length.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Scripted by Philip Epstein and Julius Epstein form the novel by "Elizabeth," Bette Davis ages from beautiful New York coquette to a ravaged and chastened 50-year-old in the epic melodrama Mr. Skeffington (1944). Fearless about playing unlikable leads, Davis's Fanny Trellis Skeffington is an unstinting narcissist who cares only about the validation of her beauty by increasingly younger men. Photographed by Ernest Haller and costumed by Orry-Kelly to initially look her glamorous best, Davis ends up an over-made up gargoyle after Fanny's illness; fleeting close-ups of Fanny's ruined face reveal enough without lingering over her ugliness. As her rich husband Job, Claude Rains conveys his undying adoration for Fanny with masterful subtlety, lending quiet credence to his assertion that "a woman is beautiful only when she is loved." One of the first films to deal with anti-Semitism and Nazism, Job's Judaism makes him a less "suitable" match for socialite Fanny c. 1915; his concentration camp experience leaves him at Fanny's newly discovered mercy decades later. Smoothly directed by Vincent Sherman, Mr. Skeffington resulted in Davis's seventh Best Actress Oscar nomination, and a Supporting Actor nod for Rains. 20 minutes cut for time in 1944 were restored for the home video release.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by director Vincent Sherman; New featurette Mr. Skeffington: A Picture of Strength; Theatrical trailer; Languages: English & Français; Subtitles: English, Français & Español

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bette Davis "Fanny" Beatrice Trellis Skeffington
Claude Rains Job Skeffington
Walter Abel George Trellis
Richard Waring Trippy Trellis
George Coulouris Dr. Byles
Jerome Cowan Edward Morrison
Johnny Mitchell Johnny Mitchell
Marjorie Riordan Young Fanny
Robert Shayne MacMahon
John Alexander Jim Conderley
Dorothy Peterson Manby
Peter Whitney Chester Forbish
Bill Kennedy Thatcher
Tom Stevenson Rev. Hyslup
Halliwell Hobbes Soames, Fanny's 1st Butler
Sylvia Arslan Young Fanny at Age 10
Bunny Sunshine Young Fanny at 5
Dolores Gray Singer
Walter Kingsford Dr. Melton
Molly Lamont Miss Morris, Secretary
Harry C. Bradley The Rector
Georgia Caine Mrs. Newton
Joe Devlin Boat Employee
Richard Erdman Western Union Boy
Mary Field Mrs. Hyslup
Edward Fielding Justice of the Peace
William Forrest Clinton, Fanny's 2nd Butler
Jack George Henri
Sol (Saul) Gorss Plainclothesman
Vera Lewis Justice's Wife
Dagmar Oakland Woman
Cyril Ring Perry Lanks
Frances Sage Skeffington's First Secretary
Erskine Sanford Dr. Fawcette
Will Stanton Drunk
Lelah Tyler Mrs. Forbish
Minerva Urecal Woman in Beauty Shop
John Vosper Artist
Regina Wallace Mrs. Conderly
Crane Whitley Louie, Speakeasy Owner
Janet Barrett Witness
Gigi Perreau Young Fanny at Age 25
Ann Codee French Modiste
Ann Doran Marie, Nursemaid
Bess Flowers Mrs. Thatcher
Creighton Hale Casey, Employee
Matt McHugh Drunk

Technical Credits
Vincent Sherman Director
Ralph Dawson Editor
Julius J. Epstein Producer,Screenwriter
Philip G. Epstein Producer,Screenwriter
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert M. Haas Production Designer
Ernest Haller Cinematographer
Robert B. Lee Sound/Sound Designer
James Leicester Special Effects
Fred MacLean Set Decoration/Design
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Jack L. Warner Executive Producer
Franz Waxman Score Composer
Perc Westmore Makeup

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits [:59]
2. Suitors Three [4:53]
3. Trippy's Little Killing [2:57]
4. Mr. Skeffington [5:19]
5. Letting It Ride [5:22]
6. No Flowers [5:06]
7. Office Visit [4:11]
8. Onrush of War [2:28]
9. Unknown Admirer [3:51]
10. Newlyweds [6:14]
11. Trippy's Outburst [3:54]
12. Despising Mrs. Skeffington [3:19]
13. Patient Men [3:49]
14. Face In The Newsreel [2:29]
15. Pregnant and Fearful [5:24]
16. Young Fanny [3:31]
17. Tragic News [:05]
18. Macmahon's Lady [5:02]
19. Gin Joint Encounter [5:01]
20. Divorce [3:25]
21. Our Daughter [2:57]
22. Hard To Explain [4:17]
23. Through The Years [5:07]
24. Home From Abroad [3:30]
25. Diphtheria Strikes [3:26]
26. Staring Eyes [3:26]
27. Breakfast Company [5:51]
28. Doctor's Advice [2:57]
29. Gathering Of Old Friends [4:34]
30. Faces Of Change [3:25]
31. Hollow Enshrinement [3:21]
32. Falling Out With Edward [2:27]
33. Goodbye, Mother [5:54]
34. All Alone [4:07]
35. Her Last Chance [2:34]
36. Beautiful and Loved [5:06]


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Mr. Skeffington 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
LPR More than 1 year ago
This may be the best movie ever made, Technically it is a masterpice. From the performances, to the script, to the photography, it is a masterpiece. Arguably underated, it is a must see.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago