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Jezebel (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 26 March 1938 (USA)
1:58 | Trailer

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In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.



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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aunt Belle Massey
Ted Dillard
General Theopholus Bogardus
Mrs. Kendrick
Jean La Cour
Dick Allen
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 <adam_brodsky@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The South's Greatest Romance 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
See  »

Did You Know?


An old rumor is that the role of Julie was offered as compensation to Bette Davis when she lost the opportunity to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939). This rumor is completely false, since the role of Scarlett had not yet been cast until long after Jezebel (1938) had been filmed. See more »


When Zette admires Julie's dress, the apron on her uniform is pinned to the uniform in some shots and unpinned in other shots. See more »


Julie: Amy, of course, it's your right to go; you're his wife. But are you fit to go? Loving him isn't enough. If you gave him all your strength, would it be enough?
Amy Bradford Dillard: I'll make him live, or die with him.
Julie: Amy... Amy, do you know the Creole word for fever powder? For food and water? How to talk to a sullen, overworked black boy and make him fear you and help you? Pres's life and yours will hang on things just like that, and you'll both surely die.
Amy Bradford Dillard: Then it will have to be that way.
Julie: It's not a question of ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen See more »


Featured in For Your Consideration (2006) See more »


Beautiful Dreamer
(1862) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Foster
Sung and hummed by Bette Davis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Bette Davis Deserved the Oscar of Best Actress in a Leading Role
1 July 2009 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In 1852, in New Orleans, the southern Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) is an impulsive and spoiled young woman from the society of Louisiana. Her fiancée is the successful young banker Preston Dillard (Henry Fonda), who is climbing in his career with his dedication and work. When Preston stays in a meeting in the bank instead of with Julie, she wears a red dress against Preston will in a traditional ball where the upper class ladies white to get even, shocking the local society with her attitude. The mortified Preston calls their engagement off and moves to the branch of the bank in New York. When Preston returns to New Orleans one year later, Julie believes that he misses her and organizes a dinner party to welcome him and ask for his forgiveness. However, Preston is married with the New Yorker Amy (Margaret Lindsay) and the surprised Julie does not accept his marriage and decides to fight for him. The vindictive Julie uses the rivalry and hostility between North and South to make Amy uncomfortable and the situation provokes a fatal duel between her former boyfriend Buck Cantrell (George Brent) and his friend Ted (Richard Cromwell). Meanwhile Preston is contaminated in New Orleans by the Yellow Jack and Julie disputes with Amy the right to nurse him in an isolation island with lepers.

"Jezebel" is another great movie of Bette Davis and William Wyler based on the southern lifestyle a couple of years before the American Civil War. Bette Davis character is a controlling, independent and spoiled young woman and when she finds out that her former fiancé is married, she tells her aunt that she would fight for him despite being married and her aunt compares Julie with Jezebel. The Biblical name Jezebel is the synonym of a promiscuous, wicked and manipulative woman. The story also focuses the outbreak that happened in 1853 in New Orleans, Louisiana, where thousands of residents died. The comparison with "Gone with the Wind" is inevitable since Julie Marsden and Scarlett O'Hara characters have many characteristics in common. Bette Davis deserved the Oscar of Best Actress in a Leading Role. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Jezebel"

Note: On 28 August 2011, I saw this film again on DVD.

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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
Who's "Jezebel"? Chloe1939
How does Julie betray Buck? bethanne558
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