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Mr. Skeffington

Mr. Skeffington
Mr. Skeffington.jpg
Original poster
Directed by Vincent Sherman
Produced by Julius J. Epstein
Philip G. Epstein
Jack L. Warner
Written by Elizabeth von Arnim
Julius J. Epstein
Philip G. Epstein
Starring Bette Davis
Claude Rains
Music by Franz Waxman
Paul Dessau
Cinematography Ernest Haller
Edited by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Release date
  • May 25, 1944 (1944-05-25)
Running time
145 min.
Country United States
Language English

Mr. Skeffington is a 1944 American drama film directed by Vincent Sherman, based on the novel of the same name by Elizabeth von Arnim.

The film stars Bette Davis as a beautiful woman whose many suitors, and self-love, distract her from returning the affections of her husband, Job Skeffington. It also makes a point about Skeffington's status as a Jew in 1914 high society and, later, in relation to Nazi Germany.

It stars Claude Rains as Skeffington, along with Walter Abel, George Coulouris and Richard Waring.

In 1914, spoiled Fanny Trellis (Bette Davis) is a renowned beauty, with many suitors. She loves her brother Trippy (Richard Waring) and would do anything to help him. Fanny learns that Trippy has embezzled money from his employer Job Skeffington (Claude Rains). To save her brother from prosecution, Fanny pursues and marries the lovestruck Skeffington. Disgusted by the arrangement, in part because of his prejudice against Skeffington being Jewish, Trippy leaves home to fight in the Lafayette Escadrille in World War I.

Job loves Fanny, but she is merely fond of him and largely ignores him. She becomes pregnant with his child, but, when Trippy dies in France, she states she is "stuck" with Job, and the marriage then becomes wholly loveless, continuing only for the child's sake. Job and George Trellis, Fanny's cousin, also enlist, but are stationed near home.

Fanny enjoys playing the wealthy socialite, stringing along a persistent quartet of suitors who are unfazed by her marriage, as well as much younger lovers. Lonely, Job finds solace with his secretaries. When Fanny finds out, she divorces him, conveniently ignoring her own behavior.

Fanny neglects her young daughter (also called Fanny), who understandably prefers her loving father and begs him to take her with him to Europe. Although Job fears for his child and tries unsuccessfully to explain to her the nature of prejudice she will encounter as a Jew abroad, he finally, tearfully and joyfully, says yes. Fanny is relieved to be free of the encumbrance of a child. Fanny has a series of affairs, living well on the extremely generous settlement Job has left her - half his fortune - and hardly giving a thought to her daughter, whom she does not see for many years.



  • May 25, 1944 (1944-05-25)
  • Bette Davis as Frances Beatrice 'Fanny' Trellis Skeffington
  • Claude Rains as Job Skeffington
  • Walter Abel as George Trellis, Fanny's cousin
  • Richard Waring as Trippy Trellis, Fanny's brother
  • Marjorie Riordan as Fanny Rachel Trellis, Fanny and Job's daughter as an adult
  • Robert Shayne as MacMahon, a local gangster
  • John Alexander as Jim Conderley, one of Fanny's four persistent suitors
  • Jerome Cowan as Edward Morrison, one of Fanny's four persistent suitors
  • Peter Whitney as Chester Forbish, one of Fanny's four persistent suitors
  • Bill Kennedy as Bill Thatcher, one of Fanny's four persistent suitors
  • Johnny Mitchell as Johnny Mitchell, a younger suitor of Fanny's who later marries her daughter. Born Douglas N. Lamy, this actor changed his name to that of his character.
  • George Coulouris as Doctor Byles
  • Dorothy Peterson as Manby, Fanny's housekeeper
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