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Jezebel (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 26 March 1938 (USA)
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A haughty headstrong Southern Belle in Antebellum Louisiana loses her fiance due to her stubborn vanity and pride and vows to get him back.

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Writers:

(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:
...
...
...
...
Amy
...
...
Aunt Belle
...
Ted
Henry O'Neill ...
General Bogardus
...
Mrs. Kendrick
...
Jean La Cour
Gordon Oliver ...
Dick Allen
...
Molly Allen
Theresa Harris ...
Zette
Margaret Early ...
Stephanie Kendrick
...
Huger
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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:

The South's Greatest Romance 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)
 »

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 cried for days after finishing and with good reason. Not only had she finished one of the most rewarding artistic experiences in her career, but she was pregnant with William Wyler's child. See more »

Goofs

In the scene in which Julie is sewing her dress she hums "Beautiful Dreamer". The story takes place 1852-53 and "Beautiful Dreamer" wasn't written until 1864. See more »

Quotes

Julie: [in reference to the flowers] Oh, Zette, aren't they beautiful!
Zette: Yas'm, Miss Julie! Right nice and pretty!
Amy Bradford Dillard: Right nice and pretty?
[bursts out angrily]
Amy Bradford Dillard: Pretty enough for Ted's grave!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen 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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"1852, we're in 1852 darling, not the dark ages"
19 February 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Jezebel was Bette Davis's consolation prize for losing the Scarlett O'Hara sweepstakes. Considering the sacrifice that the title character makes in this film, it is fitting and proper that Davis got this role because she could have had Scarlett, but she wouldn't make Gone With the Wind if it included Errol Flynn as Rhett Butler.

Julie Marsden is as willful and and spiteful a southern belle as Scarlett O'Hara ever could be. But Scarlett would never deliberately violate the code the way Julie does and wear that red dress to a cotillion. Just simply not done in the best families.

Bette Davis is Julie and while she's going to be married to the very proper Henry Fonda, she likes the idea that she can still turn the head of every young blade in New Orleans. Especially George Brent's head as the dashing Buck Cantrell.

When Fonda doesn't jump at her beck and call he prefers doing business to catering to her whims she decides on a daring move. This is a woman who cannot stand not being the center of attention. She wears a red dress to a cotillion when polite society dictates that all the unmarried young ladies wear white. When she does, New Orleans society shuns her as effectively as the Amish can and Davis retreats to her plantation upriver.

Fonda goes north and returns after a while to New Orleans with Margaret Lindsay who he is now married to. An insult our southern belle won't put up with. Davis sets in motion a string of events that results in a lot of tragedy.

I have to say that just a description of the plot seems a bit ridiculous at times, but Bette Davis does make this whole thing quite believable. She won her second Oscar for Best Actress in this film and as her aunt who occasionally gives her a reality check every now and then Fay Bainter was named Best Supporting Actress of 1938.

Fonda and Brent are fine in their parts, but they are in support of Bette Davis in a Bette Davis film. Another performance I liked is that of Donald Crisp as the doctor who fights a lot of prejudice and ignorance in New Orleans in trying to deal with yellow fever.

Looming over all of the film is the knowledge we have that this society will come crashing down in another eight years or so in events so well told in Gone With the Wind. This film should be seen back to back with Gone With the Wind as a view of southern society.

This was Bette Davis's first film with director William Wyler who she admired above all other directors. Davis was not generous with praise for colleagues so any kind words towards one are really something. Apparently Wyler did have the magic touch in handling Bette.

Jezebel is one of Bette Davis's finest films, maybe not the finest, but definitely right up there. Unlike Davis's first Oscar for Dangerous which she said was a consolation for not winning for Of Human Bondage, this one she was proud of. And we're proud of it too.


25 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Does anyone have a problem with the ending? pwbri
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