The Anniversary

The Anniversary

DVD - 2006
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"The legendary Bette Davis stars as Mrs. Taggart, a venomous one-eyed matriarch who -- despite her husband being long dead -- demands her three grown sons gather for her 40th anniversary. Eldest Henry is a mild-mannered cross-dresser; middle child Terry is a henpecked weakling; and carefree youngest son Thomas arrives with his pregnant fiancée. But this bumpy night has only just begun, as family secrets will be revealed, cruel insults hurled, and frilly underwear stolen. Even if the siblings can survive the festivities unscathed, does the biggest mother of them all have a shocking final surprise for everyone?"--Container.

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May 24, 2016

Bette Davis gleefully chews the scenery as a wealthy widow whose sole reason for existence seems to be making life as miserable as possible for her three grown sons and their significant others in this very British, very black comedy from 1968.
After all that proceeds it, the final scene should not be that nasty a shock but kind of is. Davis's monster-mom from hell characterization veers close to self-parody at times, but Sheila Hancock is especially good as the embattled daughter-in-law who fights back and nearly wins, as is James Cossins as the dutiful eldest son whose tortured secret is something of a family joke.
This disc includes a rather disappointing commentary track by director Roy Ward Baker, writer-producer Jimmy Sangster, and DVD producer Perry Martin, who is the younger of the trio. Only occasionally did the elderly Baker and Sangster focus on the film itself (the ironic lifting of Bette's eyebrow in the restaurant scene; the regal way she descends a staircase). Despite Martin's prodding, both men's reminiscing, particularly Baker's, wanders all over the place as key moments in the movie are ignored.

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