HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
1917
Tree House, The
Sputnik
Seducao da Carne
Yes, God, Yes
Five Graves to Cairo
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
   
 
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
   
 
  Jezebel Hell's Southern Belles
Year: 1938
Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Crisp, Fay Bainter, Richard Cromwell, Henry O'Neill, Spring Byington, John Litel, Gordon Oliver, Janet Shaw, Theresa Harris, Margaret Early, Irving Pichel, Eddie Anderson
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: New Orleans, 1852, and Southern belle Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) is causing trouble, as there is a rumour going around that she has spurned the advances of local man about town Buck Cantrell (George Brent), much to the amusement of his drinking buddies at the gentlemen's club he frequents. Julie, meanwhile is preparing for the biggest society ball in the calendar, where all the young ladies line up in their finery to dance with the young man of their choice: she has her heart set on aspiring businessman and activist Preston Dillard (Henry Fonda), but it is another choice she will make that proves controversial, as every girl at the ball traditionally wears white. Not this year...

Legend has it that Bette Davis had been promised the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, the most successful film of all time if figures are adjusted for inflation, and was furious when it went to Vivien Leigh instead. But the truth was different, as it was down to her casting in Jezebel that ruled her out of David O. Selznick's consideration, he really did not like this film which he regarded as a spoiler for his superproduction, rightly so as there was no other reason for it to be made. When it won Oscars, notably for Davis in the lead, it rankled with him, though as events turned out he would be laughing all the way to the bank when his Southern effort eclipsed Jezebel completely.

Well, almost completely; Bette has her fans to this day, and this showed her at somewhere near her best thanks to the guiding hand of director William Wyler, with whom she was so impressed she insisted on bedding him for the duration of the shoot (er, after the day was over, that was). Wyler's technique was to craft the performances he wanted over the course of multiple takes, sort of a proto-Stanley Kubrick, and like Kubrick wont to go over budget thanks to his dedication to securing just one more take out of his cast, which was the case here. All was forgiven, of course, once the box office tills began a-ringing and the awards nominations began rolling in, not just for Davis, either.

Watching it now, you can see how this was basically one big spoiler for Gone with the Wind, sharing as it did similar setpieces and a strong-willed heroine in the Scarlett mould, though the studio would point out that Julie was written first, so completely different and thoroughly legitimate to bring her to the screen, then. Still, Davis was terrific in her part as a young woman who will not be told she is making a faux pas of epic proportions in wearing a red dress to that ball, and Fonda got to show backbone by forcing her to dance on even as the floor is cleared because none of the other girls in white wish to share the scene with her. When Preston marries someone else, it is the cue for Julie to become a recluse of sorts, staying on her estate and only emerging to ride horses when the whim takes her.

Yet one other aspect this shared with the most successful film of all time was more problematic: set at a time when slavery in the American South was endemic, how were we supposed to take the scenes with the black characters in subservient roles? Apparently aware that there was a racist elephant in the room, there were distinctive personalities appearing in those roles, from Jack Benny's partner in comedy Eddie Anderson to the beautiful Theresa Harris, often cast as maids but able to bring more than simple stereotyping (and as ever, making you lament she was rarely given opportunities she deserved). Nevertheless, there was nobody as indelible as Hattie McDaniel in Gone with the Wind, who despite being the "mammy" slave in that film was practically the only character with any sense. But while we were being inclusive, mention Preston's wife was played by Margaret Lindsay, one of the few "out" lesbians in Hollywood of her day, and here typically demure. Otherwise, it was Davis's self-sacrificing show, paired with her favourite actor Brent, and all verging on hysteria. Hokum, and with caveats, but interesting too. Music by Max Steiner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 438 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: