Jezebel (1938)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  26 March 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 8,444 users  
Reviews: 83 user | 38 critic

A haughty headstrong Southern Belle in Antebellum Louisiana loses her fiance due to her stubborn vanity and pride and vows to get him back.



(screen play), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
George Brent ...
Dr. Livingstone
Fay Bainter ...
Aunt Belle
Richard Cromwell ...
Henry O'Neill ...
General Bogardus
Mrs. Kendrick
Jean La Cour
Gordon Oliver ...
Dick Allen
Janet Shaw ...
Molly Allen
Theresa Harris ...
Margaret Early ...
Stephanie Kendrick


Set in antebellum New Orleans during the early 1850's, this film follows Julie Marsden through her quest for social redemption on her own terms. Julie is a beautiful and free spirited, rapacious Southern belle who is sure of herself and controlling of her fiancé Preston Dillard, a successful young banker. Julie's sensitive but domineering personality--she does not want so much to hurt as to assert her independence--forces a wedge between Preston and herself. To win him back, she plays North against South amid a deadly epidemic of yellow fever which claims a surprising victim. Written by Adam Brodsky <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Fearless Feminine Creature with a heart full of love ! See more »


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

26 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jezabel  »

Box Office


$1,250,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Bette Davis was originally not happy at learning that William Wyler was to direct the film as she had heard of his reputation for insisting on multiple takes. Wyler's aptitude soon won her over however, both personally and professionally. See more »


At the dressmaker's shop Julie holds up the red dress in front of her to see how it looks. It has sleeves. She takes it home with her and shows it to Preston. The next day is the ball and when she appears in it,the dress is now sleeveless. See more »


General Bogardus: [warning Cantrell about dueling] Cantrell, you're a fool! De Lautuc's an old hand. Been out a dozen times.
Buck Cantrell: 13's liable to be unlucky for De Lautruc. You know, these French. They shoot for the head and, like as not, miss. I'm gonna shoot for the body and bust his tripes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen See more »


Featured in The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind (1988) See more »


Raise a Ruckus
Sung by Bette Davis and Servants
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Southern Discomfort
19 November 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

The American South has always had an aura of sadness around it. I don't know why exactly. This film tends to reinforce that perception. Characters start off with high hopes for the future, only to succumb to some unfortunate fate, as a direct result of their Southern roots.

In pre-Civil War New Orleans, Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) is a wealthy young woman, engaged to respected banker Preston Dillard (Henry Fonda). But Julie is strong-willed, independent, and impetuous, traits considered unwomanly by that era's Southern aristocracy. Against Preston's wishes, Julie wears a red dress, instead of the customary white, to a gala ball. This event sets up the rest of the story.

While the support cast in "Jezebel" is fine, especially Fay Bainter, the film would not be the same without Bette Davis. I just can't see anyone else in the role of Julie. Davis' performance and the film's setting are what make this film so memorable. The costumes, the production design, the cinematography, and the music combine to convey a genuine sense of the antebellum South, with its stately manners that conceal narrow-mindedness and barbaric "chivalry".

Normally, I don't care for films whose subject matter is long ago history. But "Jezebel" is an exception, because it is so well made. I guess it is the tone of the film that really got my attention. The stately beauty of that time and place masks an underlying sadness, as a prelude to tragedy. Some might call it melodrama. But to me, that's just good drama.

33 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Does anyone have a problem with the ending? pwbri
talk about blaming the woman... shoequeen2713
Dont yell at me but I wish they would colorize caymancic
Who did Preston really love? roseytrebles
How does Julie betray Buck? bethanne558
Who's "Jezebel"? Chloe1939
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