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Jezebel (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 26 March 1938 (USA)
In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mrs. Kendrick
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Jean La Cour
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Dick Allen
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Molly Allen
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Stephanie Kendrick
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Storyline

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 <adam_brodsky@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

As box-office as only her greatest story could make it! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jezabel  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When the sheriff shoots the "yellow jack" runaway at Halcyon Plantation, he uses a lever-action repeating rifle. This type of weapon was first patented in 1860; the action takes place in 1853. See more »

Quotes

Julie: Why, Pres. Bangin' on a lady's door. I'm scandalized at you. Well, did you come up here just to stand there?
Preston Dillard: Julie, how long must we go on like this?
Julie: Like what, Pres?
Preston Dillard: Fightin', fussin' all the time, like a couple of children.
Julie: Why do you treat me like a child?
Preston Dillard: Because you act like one. A spoiled one.
Julie: You used to say you liked me like that once. You never wanted me to change. Remember?
Preston Dillard: Julie.
Julie: [after he kisses her] Why, Pres. In a lady's bedroom. Now you'll have to marry me.
Preston Dillard: What do you figure I ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Etude in E Op.10 No.3
(1829-32) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Played on piano by Fay Bainter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Bette Davis-Legend
11 February 2010 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

Bette Davis is a legend. I'd always heard that growing up, but felt some disconnect from it . When I became aware of her it was late in her career after she had developed into a boozy, smoke belching, caricature of her on screen persona's. So, if the "Bette Davis/Legend" concept rings a little hollow with you as it did me, watch this film. I just saw "Jezebel" for the first time on DVD. Wow! I haven't seen a lot of movies from the 1930's but I'm pretty sure that no one else was doing then what Bette Davis was doing. It is an acting style, and skill level, that isn't seen often.

She is brilliant throughout but one scene in particular made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. It happens in the scene where Henry Fonda escorts Jezebel home after the ball and breaks off their engagement. When he tells her, "goodbye" and not "goodnight", a look of puzzlement and humiliation comes over her face. She starts to turn away to leave, but decides instead to extend her hand in Southern feminine cordiality to wish him well. As she does this something inside her wells up. Her expression changes, and as they say, if looks could kill... With the speed of a cobra, and unable to restrain herself, she slaps him in the face. Unlike a cobra however, which recoils after it strikes, she lurches slightly closer and you think she might just rip his throat out. William Wyler lets the camera linger on her and it's a powerful, and slightly disturbing, moment. I don't think anyone else could have pulled it off like Davis did.

The film is great although the depictions of slavery as a genteel Southern quirk are more than a little cringe worthy. To see this movie though is to understand how Bette Davis became a legend. And to see this movie is to see one of the most powerful screen performances ever. Who knew... After all 1938 was a long time ago and I've been busy with other stuff.


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