Bette Davis, Jezebel

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Thursday, December 15, 2005

In February and March of 1938, two of the greatest female performances in screen history were released within a month of each other, and Bringing Up [an Untamed Leopard]) and Jezebel represented new maturation points for both Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis, one in a screwball comedy and one in a southern soaper.

Forty years later, Sue Ellen Ewing of the TV show Dallas could have gotten her style--raging, plotting, seething under a surface of feminine southern charm which is completely inadequate to cover her frustrated sexuality--from Davis' Julie Marsden. Jezebel is also filled with the unique, almost shocking power of Davis, expressed through an inspired, Streep-like virtuosity; to name just one example, watch her singing "Raise a Ruckus", suddenly startled and terrified by her own wild impulses.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Pauline Kael

"Bette Davis is impulsive, complex Julie, the Southern belle who destroys her chances for happiness by perversely flouting conventions.... It's hard to know which is Davis's "big scene" in the movie--the painful, flamboyant error of her appearance in red, or the breathtaking moment of her apology in white. She took the Academy Award of 1938 for this role, and rarely has it been awarded so justly...."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005