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.
A piano teacher believes that her fiancé was killed on the battlefield. When he miraculously returns, they decide to marry, but are threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer the piano teacher started dating on the rebound after she became convinced her love had died.
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 obsessive Duchesse de Praslin, she instantly incurs the wrath of her mistress, who is insanely jealous of anyone who comes near her estranged husband. Though she saves the duchess's little son from a near-death illness and warms herself to all the children, she is nevertheless dismissed by the vengeful duchess. Meanwhile, the attraction between the duke and Henriette continues to grow, eventually leading to tragedy. Written by
Most of the story takes place in 1847; however, several of the men wear neck wear that is posterior to the 1840s. For example, there is an scene in which the Duc wears a wing collar, a fashion that did not yet exist in the time of Louis Philippe. See more »
Based upon the popular 1937 novel written by Henriette Duluzy Desporte's grandneice, one Rachel Field, this movie was a prime vehicle for Bette Davis. This was considered Warners big "prestige" picture for 194O, and it shows: no expense in the production costs were spared, it's an exceptionally finely crafted motion picture. Based upon factual incidents, the story tells of how the notorious 1847 murder of the Dutchess (played with venomous relish by the tall & stately Barbara O'Neil) made Henriette the most notoriously suspicious and despised woman in Europe for a time. Originally, O'Neil's interpretation of the horrendously neurotic Dutchess was played looking a disheveled, unkempt mess physically. The producers thought her appearance would be a bit too uncooth for viewers to endure, but that decision robbed O'Neil of a far more effective characterization. As Henriette, Davis is much more subdued than normal, and her performance is genuinely affecting: another victorious portrait added to her quickly growing gallery of unforgettable heroines and vixens. Charles Boyer is fine as the Duc; he and Davis have a most interesting, classy chemistry between them. The children include Richard Nichols (as the adorable Raynald), Virginia Weidler and June Lockhart. Anatole Litvak's direction keeps this 14O minute saga flowing: the result is a handsome period piece which is done in old Hollywood's best style.
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