Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) endures a repressive regime in her Boston mansion, ruled over by her matronly mother (Gladys Cooper). Her sister (Ilka Chase) insists that Charlotte is sent to a sanitarium for the sake of her mental health, and the opportunity to escape from the strictures of home allows Charlotte to blossom. During a cruise, taken as part of her cure, she meets the unhappily married Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid), and a passionate, if ultimately doomed, romance ensues. Davis earned an Oscar nomination for her performance, whilst Max Steiner picked up the coveted statuette for his lush score.
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