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Jezebel (1938)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  26 March 1938 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 7,421 users  
Reviews: 80 user | 37 critic

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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(screen play), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Title: Jezebel (1938)

Jezebel (1938) on IMDb 7.7/10

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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:
...
...
George Brent ...
...
Amy
...
Dr. Livingstone
Fay Bainter ...
Aunt Belle
Richard Cromwell ...
Ted
Henry O'Neill ...
General Bogardus
...
Mrs. Kendrick
...
Jean La Cour
Gordon Oliver ...
Dick Allen
Janet Shaw ...
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:

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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally a flop play on Broadway starring Bette Davis' nemesis Miriam Hopkins. Hopkins assumed she was contractually set to star in the film adaptation, but the contract only specified she would be "considered" for the film version. See more »

Goofs

As Mrs. Kendrick and Stephanie go up the steps to the porch of Julie's house, we see a diagonal ray of light shine across the front door. Just before Uncle Cato opens the door, the light is gone. See more »

Quotes

Julie: Why did you do it? Why Pres?
Preston Dillard: Because I love her
Julie: But you had my love!
Preston Dillard: And lost it.
Julie: Wasn't that memory more real than anything she had to give to you?
[Preston walks away]
Julie: Don't be cross with me, Pres. Just tell me. You must!
Preston Dillard: Please don't, Julie!
Julie: Sha'll I cry for you? Nobody ever made me cry but you... And that was only twice! Do you remember?
Preston Dillard: Yes
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen See more »

Connections

Referenced in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Pretty Quadroon
(uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Nat Vincent and Fred Howard
Sung by Chorus and used as background
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.


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talk about blaming the woman... shoequeen2713
Does anyone have a problem with the ending? pwbri
Dont yell at me but I wish they would colorize caymancic
Who did Preston really love? roseytrebles
How does Julie betray Buck? bethanne558
Who's "Jezebel"? Chloe1939
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