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.
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
Herbert Marshall had lost a leg in WWI. The scene where Horace crawls up the stairs is done by a stunt man. Marshall takes the role until he walks towards the stairs, but is hidden by a curtain for a moment. That was where the switch was made. See more »
In the final scene, just before Alexandra leaves Regina, in the shot when Regina climbs the stairs, and asks Zan if she would "like to sleep in her room tonight", we see a chair in the background (which earlier in the scene, Regina had sat in). The chair seat is empty. Two shots later, when Alexandra collects her hat and coat to leave, they have suddenly appeared on the chair. See more »
I always say to myself, I don't like nervous people. I can't trust 'em. Leo, you are one of the people who bore me. An' I'm getting' too old to wanna' be bored. I'm just getting' so I hate it. Now you take your nerves on outta' here and go upstairs and take a warm bath. That'll be good for you - a nice, warm bath.
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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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