The Great Lie

The Great Lie is an American Classic drama film which was written by Lenore J. Coffee and was released on April 12th 1941. Below is my take on this fabulous Bette Davis film.

Sandra Kovak, played by Mary Astor, is a concert pianist and her aviator husband Peter Van Allen, played by George Brent, find out that their spur of the moment marriage is indeed invalid. This is due to Kovak’s divorce not being formally finalised before they got married. As a result of this, Van Allen leaves Kovak and marries his old flame Maggie Patterson (Bette Davis). Van Allen leaves to embark on a business trip to Brazil when his aircraft disappears in action. It is guessed that it had crashed in the jungle and he was therefore killed as a result. 

Kovak discovers that she is pregnant by Van Allen and Pattison gives her a proposal. Pattison suggests that she be allowed to raise the child like her own in exchange for financially supporting Kovak. They both depart for Arizona in anticipation of the birth. Kovak gives birth to a boy and names him after his father. 

Kovak starts working on a world tour when Van Allen surprisingly returns home as he has obviously survived the plane crash. Pattison leads him to believe that the child is their son. Kovak returns and starts to taunt Pattison as she feels that she truely wants them back for herself. Therefore she demands that Patterson comes clean and admits to Van Allen that she misled him. Patterson does true fully admit the whole situation but Van Allen is horrified by Kovak’s behaviour and then says that she can have the baby but he will stay with Patterson. Kovak in acceptance of the idea that Van Allen truly loves Patterson leaves with the child but knows that she will be the greater mother. 

A very maternal and quite noble role for Bette Davis. I found this classic to be a great opportunity for Davis to display a fantastic portrayal of being dramatic in distress. 


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