Recommended Star

The Anniversary DVD

Roy Ward Baker, 1968

£9.99

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2 Reviews // 1 List

Film Details

Directed by Roy Ward Baker

Produced in 1968

Main Language - ENGLISH

Countries & Regions - British Film

Cast

Bette Davis, Christian Roberts, Sheila Hancock

Genres

Classic ComedyComedyClassic British Film

MovieMail's Review

“Bette Davis - a portrait in evil as the most merciless mother of them all!” shrieked the tagline to this rollicking film adaptation of Bill MacIlwraith’s black comedy stage hit. Playing Mrs. Taggart, the horrendous one-eyed matriarch of three very different sons, Davis gives a smart, and very funny performance – she undoubtedly steals all her many scenes, but here it is with skill and brilliant timing, rather than the lazy resort to camp overdrive that marred other contemporary Davis flicks. When one son brings home a pretty (though far from dumb) blonde to the mother’s anniversary, a war of nerves commences from which only one woman can emerge victorious.

The film has many merits – a sharp script, excellent supporting performances (especially from Sheila Hancock as Davis’s feisty daughter-in-law) and genuine tension during the slanging matches – the upper hand switches constantly throughout each confrontation. But really, this is Davis’s show; whether telling Hancock her family have died just to shut her up, or showing zero compassion during a near-miscarriage, she devours the role with impolite precision. The viewer’s only option is to surrender.

Alex Davidson on 13th June 2007
Author of 238 reviews

Film Description

Davis is the mother from hell in this delicious black comedy. She plays a widowed mother with three sons who, once a year on her wedding anniversary, meet to pay her respect - and endure her cold sarcasm and malicious interference. She plays the part with relish. Available on DVD for the first time.

DVD Details

Certificate: PG

Publisher: Studio Canal

Length: 95 mins

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 2

Released: 9th July 2007

Cat No: OPTD0969

Community Reviews

by Anon on 23rd July 2004

Fabulous! Davis at her wicked best as the matriarchal Mrs Taggart. Although obviously taken from a stageplay, this black comedy never loses pace and the plot twists a... Read on

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