Using the examples, how does ‘Now, Voyager’ illustrate classic melodrama conventions of the ‘Women’s picture? ‘ In this point in time (1942), women’s picture was important to the studios. Women preferred to watch women stars such as Bette Davis who was a role model to all women. She had roles that showed integrity, intelligence and strength. They preferred drama, musicals and love stories to other types of other film, in other words ‘human interest’ stories. When looking at the film (‘the women’s weepie’), the narrative/setting and locations were important.
The classic linear narrative is disrupted because of flashbacks. The narrative is episodic which is the story about Charlotte’s progression through out a year. Every setting functions in a way a to tell us more about Charlotte. The scenes consist of either in the Vale Mansion, the boat in which Charlotte went to take a cruise on, the sanatorium, parties Charlotte attended or Brazil. The film is very reliant on coincidences, for example meeting Jerry’s daughter Tina at the sanatorium and Jerry happening to be at the same party as Charlotte.
In the film, we see three Charlotte’s: The ‘frumpy’ character that is sexually active, the ‘glamorous’ character that is repressed and the ‘mother/business’ role that is a ‘fully-rounded’ individual. Her progression has grown from unless your beautiful you wont be a confident woman. The character Jerry is important. He is a gentleman, a kind, considerate, passionate and romantic. He calls her ‘Camille’ for the camellias he sends her in the film. The other main character in ‘Now, Voyager’ is Mrs. Vale. She is a snob, self-seeking, dominant and jealous.
Everything Charlotte is not. Dr. Jacquith plays the role of the substitute father figure in Charlotte’s life that takes care of her and helps her to feel better as a person. June and Lisa have the perfect mother/daughter relationship unlike the Vale family. With Tina (Jerry’s daughter), we see that she is the mirror image of Charlotte when younger. For example, we find out from Jerry that her mother called her ‘unwanted’. Next we look at the mise-en-scene/editing/sound. The music throughout the film is thematic, mostly made up of strings.
The music swells though at emotional moments of the picture. When looking at the mise-en-scene of Charlotte’s room gives us a strong indication of Charlotte, the cooking sherry and cigarettes hidden. The relationship with Dr. Jacquith is important, she lets him in when trying to speak to her. There are many themes and issues covered in ‘Now, Voyager’. The issue of beauty, it seems that with Charlotte’s new found beauty has come with more confidence, and the ability to stand up to her mother which allows more power for her to control her own life.