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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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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:
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Ted Dillard
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General Theopholus Bogardus
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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
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:

A Fearless Feminine Creature with a heart full of love ! 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 first met William Wyler in 1931 when she auditioned for a part in his film A House Divided (1931). She was late and had hurriedly put on a size 8 dress that was cut very low. As she walked by she heard Wyler say to one of his crew members "What do you think of these dames who show their tits and think they can get jobs?". Davis was completely humiliated by his comment and hadn't forgotten it when they later met to discuss working on Jezebel (1938). The irony was that Davis had a reputation for foregoing her sex appeal - often appearing without make-up. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Preston Dillard: [tasting Uncle Cato's mint julep] You haven't forgotten how.
Uncle Cato: Me, sir? The head might forget, but the hand remembers. Anyhow, Miss Julie, she's right in behind me all day to fix them just the way you used to like them.
Preston Dillard: Uncle Cato, how is Miss Julie?
Uncle Cato: Miss Julie? Why, she's just Miss Julie.
Preston Dillard: Just the same?
Uncle Cato: Well, I reckon princesses, they just naturally grows up to be queens, that's all.
Preston Dillard: Uncle Cato, we've known each other a long time. I'm back now. Home. It's a special occasion.
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen See more »

Connections

Featured in Breakdowns of 1938 (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh, Shoo My Love
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung by the Servants
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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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