|VHS The Anniversary: Bette Davis Hedley Cosins Taylor|
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The Taggart family: Mrs. Taggart (Bette Davis), Karen Taggart (Sheila Hancock), Terry Taggart (Jack Hedley), Henry Taggart (James Cossins) & Tom Haggart (Christian Roberts) gather & clash in campy black comedic ways for their demanding mother's 40th wedding anniversary: even though Mr. Taggart has been dead for a long time.
Hammer studios are infamous for making bloody horror productions. Given these back-biting family dynamics, there should have been plenty of blood in this comedy. Taggart's eldest son, Henry, is a cross-dressing kleptomaniac & Momma's 'boy'. Middle son, Terry, is a victim of his perpetually pregnant wife's nagging belittlement. The youngest son, Thomas, is too careless & comes to the 'party' with his annual fiance', this year's already pregnant, Shirley Blair (Elaine Taylor). And then there are Terry & Karen's 5 bratty children, ta boot. Mrs. Taggart (Davis) "snaps out her bitchy insults with all 57 varieties of relish!"~Monthly Film Review. She doesn't spare her young grandchildren. Davis' fans still consider this to be her most outrageous performance, color-coordinated left eye patch & all. Her entrance at the top of the stairs in a bright red dress, matching eye patch & three strands of pearls, with her purse, is one of those "TAH DAH, here I am," moments of ego-maniacal glory that is a moment of expertly timed comedy.
This is a Hammer production of an 'experimental' genre (for its time); well suited for the studio heavyweight's, Roy Ward Baker's, direction: high-pitched black comedy & camp. Typically, Bette Davis dominates the show, oh so appropriately this time as the consummate domineering mother--the kind of role that helped make her acting career great. She must have had a blast pulling out all the performance stops! "The Anniversary" is also successful due to a marvelous script, Jimmy Sangster's screenplay, which is well delivered by all of the actors. Show this one at your next family reunion!
What's an eccentric widowed mother of very dysfunctional adult children to do on the anniversary of her husband's and their father's death?
Why of course! Dress up in Chinese red, matching hand bag, shoes & eye patch included. This grandmother doesn't pretend to want one of her son's horde of young children under foot, seen or heard. Yet, she'd very protective of her transvestite son whenever he's caught wearing other women's stolen clothes.
Only Bette Davis...knew how to underplay the extremes and overplay the minutia in such ways that are always tongue-in-cheek, don't dare laugh, hilarious.
The dysfunctional elements of this family are the targets. Although they are made to seem bizzare, due to great acting, families in everyday life could pale this one if they were scrutinized.
Bette Davis is the central focus of the entire film. She's in her later middle age period, and all pro in this type of role. She pulls is off and then some.
Bette davis is certainly an original. What an actress. The movie was very good.
Years ago, I had seen The Anniversay on late night t.v. Just read her semi- autobiogray, the movie was mentioned. I couldn,t wait to buy, and watch it.
I was not disappointed!