Category Archives: Bette Davis

Dangerous (1935)

Bette Davis is just fine in the role of Joyce Heath, the talented and self-destructive actress who is brought back from the brink by the creepily-obsessive adulation of architect Don Bellows (Franchot Tone). The problem is the herky-jerky and sporadic treatment of the problems that Joyce suffers from, notably alcoholism. She seems to be a heavy drinker just so that she can say she’s a down and out has-been, like it was something to aspire to! Continue reading

The Letter (1940)

TheLetterPosterLeslie Crosbie (Bette Davis) is the wife of a guy who runs a rubber plantation in Malaysia and if you know anything about life on a rubber plantation in Malaysia like I do, there isn’t much more to do than your husband’s best friend. And even though this all went down in Malaysia, it still turns out that you just can’t go around killing secret boyfriends because they dump you! You can’t really blame Leslie though. How can anyone be expected to know the intricacies of Malaysian homicide laws? Continue reading

Deception (1946)

Deception PosterDeception teaches us the hard way that the only thing worse than a film ending with a big cello concerto is a film that drones on with lots of talk ten minutes after the big cello concerto.

Watching Paul Henreid straddling a big violin as he makes all these “either I’m a musical genius or I’m in need of some serious fiber” faces while he plays some obnoxious dirge that composer/rival Claude Rains dreamed up in between bouts of surly self-pity at having lost the affections of Bette Davis, made me realize why you don’t see a lot of love triangle movies involving classical musicians these days. Continue reading

The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)

ManWhoCameToDinnerPosterThe Man Who Came To Dinner is a story about a radio host, Sheridan Whiteside, who ruins Christmas, but since this is Hollywood, he also manages to save it in the end. And unlike the majority of real people, the titular man’s consistently caustic manner and maddening self-absorption is fairly amusing. The writers also understood the most rudimentary elements of comedy and thus we are also treated to penguins periodically running around loose in the house. Continue reading

A Stolen Life (1946)

Stolen Life PosterYou know you’re in for some rough sailing when it’s the evil twin that goes over the side of the boat leaving the goody-goody twin to assume her identity. Spoiling your “twin tricks Glenn Ford” gimmick by having him get the better twin after already dumping her for her slightly sluttier sister doesn’t make much sense and limits the sort of screeching drama that a movie of this sort demands.

A slow moving film that never amounts to much and frequently languishes on the shoals of extraneous plot points, A Stolen Life seems to be scripted without any concept of what a Bette Davis movie involving dirty tricks and silly plot twists is all about. Continue reading

Old Acquaintance (1943)

Old Acquaintance PosterThere’s only one reason anyone would ever seek out this semi-obscure Bette Davis movie (one of only about 19 that she made during the 1940s alone!) and that can be summed up in one semi-questionable word: catfight! What began a few years before in The Old Maid comes to a throat-throttling head as Bette finally has it out with arch foe Miriam Hopkins.

And by the time Bette gets around to choking the life out of her late in the film, you’re inclined to think that she was peeved that Miriam’s hammy and clueless performance was ruining the movie.

Miriam’s inability to tone down her shrill antics isn’t the sole reason that you end up wishing that she and Bette had just set up a boxing ring on the set of The Old Maid and hashed it out over the lunch hour between set up shots four years before this mess, it’s just the most glaring. Continue reading

The Old Maid (1939)

Old Maid PosterObviously, this movie might be classified as a chick flick since it deals with subject matter that only a woman could enjoy. At least a woman from 1885 that is. I frankly think that most modern women who see this Bette Davis flick would think she was a doormat for no good reason. The guys who see this movie are obviously just trying to suck up to their girlfriends or probably have no use for girlfriends.

This one came out in 1939 so I suppose it was possible that some unwed mother could have had to lie about her baby’s origins for her whole life just so that her baby could have the advantages of being a rich adopted kid instead of a poor bastard. But this movie piled on the drama beyond that and the result was that I never quite figured out the purpose for most of Bette Davis’ actions. Oh I understood it was because she loved her daughter very much and wanted only the best for her, I just never got why that required her to become a dried up, crabby old maid. Continue reading

Where Love Has Gone (1964)

Where Love Has Gone PosterWar hero Luke Miller’s fifteen year old daughter kills her mother’s boy toy and finds herself and her high society family drawn into a web of blackmail, dark secrets and most embarrassingly of all, the juvenile court system.

Truly, there can be no greater anguish for a father than what his poor precious daughter (whom he hasn’t seen in 10 years due to his boozing ways) is going through. Oh, not the anguish of everything just mentioned. Blackmailers can be bought off, secrets can be self-righteously uncovered at dramatic moments, and the juvenile court of the old days wouldn’t let some murderous teen be tried as an adult. No, the real, soul crushing anguish Luke experiences is when he is told that his daughter’s medical exam revealed she wasn’t a virgin anymore! Continue reading