Veteran stars Bette Davis and Lillian Gish together in The Whales of August


This is a little gem from 1986 about two elderly sisters living on an island off the coast of New England. Not only was director Lindsay Anderson to be congratulated on making one of his finest films, but also in achieving the almost impossible in getting legends Lillian Gish and Bette Davis to play the sisters.

Gish edges out her rival by a whisker with her intuitive warmth, but that isn't to say Davis doesn't have some striking, subtle and emotive moments. Also good are Ann Sothern, as the well-meaning lifelong friend of the sisters and Vincent Price as the Russian emigré who tries to batten on to the sisters before confessing that 'I have spent my life visiting friends'.

Full of poignant moments, the film has an ending that is certain to have you on the verge of tears. Gish is simply a marvel, Davis as cantankerously indomitable as ever. Together, they carve out a memorable movie memorial in roles for once worthy of their own greatness.

Showing Wednesday 28 April (TCM, 7.10pm & TCM2 2.10am)