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Olivia de Havilland,
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
The Little Foxes is a very good movie that stands up well today. I enjoyed it very much.
As someone else noted, the director wanted Regina played more sympathetically but Bette Davis insisted on making her a total witch. The movie is fine but I think the director was right. Regina isn't a total witch, witness the cook giving food to children who showed up at the house and the cook saying "Miss Regina" wasn't one to count everything. She wasn't stingy. That was a telling comment that the film didn't follow up.
Regina wasn't hardhearted towards her daughter, either. She had a view of her daughter's opportunities in life; she wasn't going to allow her daughter to marry the ne'er do well cousin. She felt disappointed, even deceived, by her husband and she has a point. Why would her husband have thought she should want to hang around Podunk all her life and be happy? Regina wanted to travel; she wanted to live in Chicago; she wanted her daughter to have more choices. When the husband falls, Regina is not so much calculating as she is frozen. She thought he was selfish and sanctimonious but she didn't plot his death.
Regina was written as a complex character but Bette Davis made her a simple character.
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