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
As the greedy, conniving Regina Giddons, Bette Davis gives a fascinating performance which ranks with her very finest. Tallulah Bankhead had her greatest stage success playing Regina on Broadway in 1939. Wyler wanted Davis to portray Regina with a more sympathetic "hot house" flavour, but Bette was adamant that the character was a witch in spades: the resulting performance is striking. Regina Giddons is a classic example of a character movie viewers love to hate. Carl Benton Reid is great as the equally greedy brother and Dan Duryea is fine as Leo the crumb. As Alexandra, Teresa Wright is almost annoyingly innocent in the beginning, but she wisens up considerably towards the end of the film: "Why, Alexandra, you have spirit after all. I used to think you were all sugar-water" says a frankly impressed Regina. As the alcoholic flibbertigibbet Birdie, Patricia Collinge is perfection personified: a truly memorable portrait brilliantly enacted. Herbert Marshall is fine as the tragically deceived Horace who shouldn't depend on his "lovely" wife to fetch his heart medicine for him. A magnificent example of a great play transferred to film, Wyler's guiding hand is patent throughout: they definitely don't make films like this anymore - no matter what the cost.
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