7.6/10
9,453
89 user 39 critic

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.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dark Victory (1939)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, and must decide whether or not she'll meet her final days with dignity.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart
Now, Voyager (1942)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A frumpy spinster blossoms under therapy and becomes an elegant, independent woman.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
The Letter (1940)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson
Dangerous (1935)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An alcoholic actress who is considered a dangerous jinx is rehabilitated, but she then shows that she's as dangerous as ever.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Bette Davis, Franchot Tone, Margaret Lindsay
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the twentieth century.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge, and predictable complications result.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young man finds himself attracted to a cold and unfeeling waitress who may ultimately destroy them both.

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Bette Davis, Leslie Howard, Frances Dee
The Old Maid (1939)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The arrival of an ex-lover on a young woman's wedding day sets in motion a chain of events which will alter her and her cousin's lives forever.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, George Brent
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When lovely and virtuous governess Henriette Deluzy comes to educate the children of the debonair Duc de Praslin, a royal subject to King Louis-Philippe and the husband of the volatile and ... See full summary »

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott
The Star (1952)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A washed-up movie queen finds romance, but still desires a comeback.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden, Natalie Wood
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveler the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Ted Dillard
...
General Theopholus Bogardus
...
Mrs. Kendrick
...
Jean La Cour
...
Dick Allen
...
Molly Allen
Theresa Harris ...
Zette
Margaret Early ...
Stephanie Kendrick
...
Huger
Edit

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:

The greatest actress of the screen...in the greatest romance of the south! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jezabel  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

William Wyler never said how he felt about a take after he printed it, which drove Bette Davis mad with insecurity. When she finally told him she needed more approval from her director, Wyler started saying "Marvelous, Miss Davis, just marvelous!" after each take. Davis finally laughed and told him to go back to his usual ways. 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

Dr. Livingstone: You might be interested in a bit of news I got today: Preston Dillard's coming back. Arrives Friday on the packet.
Aunt Belle: What brings him?
Dr. Livingstone: This yellow fever business. We two stand together on what ought to be done about it. Now it's busted loose, he's coming back.
Aunt Belle: It's high time. I suspect I know Julie like nobody ever will. Every crook and cranny of her.
Dr. Livingstone: You ought to, Miss Belle. She's more like you than you ever were.
Aunt Belle: Maybe I love her most when she's her meanest, because I know that's when she's ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Gwine to Rune All Night (De Camptown Races)
(1850) (uncredited)
Music by Stephen Foster
Played at Belle's party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A triumphant performance by Bette Davis
13 May 2001 | by (Atlanta, GA) – See all my reviews

After winning the Oscar for best actress in 1936 for `Dangerous', Bette Davis began to complain that Warner Brothers was not giving her scripts that were worthy of her talent. In 1936, Warner suspended her without pay for turning down a role. She then went to England, in violation of her contract, with the intention of starring in a movie without Warner Brothers' approval. The studio stopped her, telling her that if she didn't work for them she wouldn't work anywhere. In defiance, she sued to break her contract. Although she lost the lawsuit, Warner Brothers began to take her more seriously and even paid her legal expenses. The part in `Jezebel' was thought to be an olive leaf offered by the studio to mollify her.

About that time, Davis made it known that she wanted the lead in David O. Selznick's upcoming production of `Gone With the Wind'. She was actually considered for the role, but Warner told Selznick that they wouldn't agree to loan her out unless he also took Errol Flynn for the part of Rhett Butler. Davis refused to work with Flynn and angrily turned down the part, although Selznick did not intend to agree to Flynn regardless. Many believed that Warner Brothers purposely created an impossible deal to punish Davis for the lawsuit while making it appear they were trying to help her. It isn't clear whether `Jezebel' was offered to her before or after the negotiations for GWTW. Clearly, it didn't matter, because Bette Davis went out and gave one of the best performances of her career and won her second Oscar for best actress.

This film is GWTW without Yankees. Instead, the enemy is yellow fever. The story takes place in New Orleans in the 1850's. Although there are references to the abolitionists and the prospect of war, the entire story takes place prewar. This story focuses on the southern lifestyle of the period, and in this way it is very similar to its more famous counterpart. It also follows the life and times of one very spirited woman named Julie Marsden (Bette Davis), who could have been Scarlet O'Hara's soul mate.

Julie shocks New Orleans society when she insolently comes to a ball wearing a red dress when it is the custom for all proper southern girls to wear white. (A production note of interest: The famous `red' dress was actually black satin, which was used because red didn't produce enough contrast in the black and white film, causing it not to stand out enough.) As a result, her beau Preston Dillard (a youthful Henry Fonda) is mortified and he breaks off their engagement. Included in the story are a couple of duels over points of honor, a stark depiction of the yellow fever epidemic, and the noble resurrection of a contrite Julie Marsden upon Preston's return.

As always, director William Wyler (with whom Bette Davis was romantically linked) does a fantastic job at direction, giving the film a genuine southern flavor and period feel. The black and white cinematography in this film is tremendous and procured the film one of its five Oscar nominations.

The acting is superb all around. This is certainly one of Bette Davis' best and most memorable performances and it helped secure her place in movie history as one of Hollywood's greatest stars. Though she never won another Oscar, she went on to be nominated eight more times with five straight nominations between 1939 and 1943. Ironically, in 1940 she lost to Vivien Leigh, who won in the role Davis turned down.

Fay Bainter is marvelous as Aunt Belle Bogardus garnering a best supporting actress Oscar. Henry Fonda shows a hint of his future greatness in a fabulous portrayal of Julie's no-nonsense beau. George Brent (with whom Davis also was rumored to have had an affair) also turns in a strong performance as Buck, the honorable gentleman who duels his best friend to defend Julie's honor.

This is a wonderful film with great acting and directing. Though not the epic that GWTW became, it contains certain elements that Selznick undoubtedly incorporated at Tara, since the similarities between the films are striking at times. I rated this film a 10/10. For anyone interested in seeing why Bette Davis is considered one of the great actresses of the Studio era, this film is a must.


56 of 81 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?