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Robert Z. Leonard
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Robert Z. Leonard
J. Farrell MacDonald
The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the 20th century. Regina Giddons née Hubbard has her daughter under her thumb. Mrs. Giddons is estranged from her husband, who is convalescing in Baltimore and suffers from a terminal illness. But she needs him home, and will manipulate her daughter to help bring him back. She has a sneaky business deal that she's cooking up with her two elder brothers, Oscar and Ben. Oscar has a flighty, unhappy wife and a dishonest worm of a son. Will the daughter have to marry this contemptible cousin? Who will she grow up to be - her mother or her aunt? Or can she escape the fate of both? Written by
When Regina returns home to find Horace in her part of the house, she clearly takes her left glove off before walking towards the staircase. Seconds later, after Horace tells her about the investment in the cotton mill, she turns around at the bottom of the staircase and takes her left glove off again. See more »
Maybe it's easy for the dying to be honest. I'm sick of you, sick of this house, sick of my unhappy life with you. I'm sick of your brothers and their dirty tricks to make a dime. There must be better ways of getting rich than building sweatshops and pounding the bones of the town to make dividends for you to spend. You'll wreck the town, you and your brothers. You'll wreck the country, you and your kind, if they let you. But not me, I'll die my own way, and I'll do it without making the world ...
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This film fully deserves its reputation as one of the most scorching dramas of greed and corruption ever placed on celluloid. A deceptively slow start soon draws into the machinations of the Hubbard clan whose brazen backstabbings and betrayals even today make our jaws drop. Davis' stunning portrayal of the supremely grasping Regina Giddens leads a stellar cast which does a superb job of delineating a finely drawn group of characters. Charles Dingle's deceptively warm smile masks the cooly intelligent deviousness of Ben Hubbard. Carl Reid's Oscar Hubbard is just as malicious but his inferior intelligence makes him yield to his brother's and sister's lead. Dan Duryea nicely portrays the imbecilic and immature Leo Hubbard, a characterization which borders on but never crosses over into comedy. Patricia Collinge breaks our hearts as the broken-spirited and alcoholic Birdie, Oscar's wife. Herbert Marshall's performance as the doomed Horace, Regina's husband, delineates the pain, anger, and sense of betrayal burning beneath his deathly illness. The star of the proceedings, however, is clearly Davis. Wyler's superb direction blends all these characters into a masterful whole.
Hellman's skill as a dramatist must be credited for much of this, but her Marxist inclinations clearly peep through the seams of the dialogue.
I'm glad I finally had a chance to see this undoubted classic. Thanks again to that great channel, American Movie Classics.
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