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
Although the film was a big hit at the box office, because of the terms RKO set up with Samuel Goldwyn, they ended up making a loss of $140,000. See more »
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 »
How much more time can you give me?
Horace has refused.
He'll change his mind. I'll find a way to make him. How much longer can you wait?
Well, I could wait a few days, but I can't wait a few days. I could, but I can't. Could and can't.
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Opening credits prologue: "Take us the foxes, The little foxes, that spoil the vines:
For our vines have tender grapes." The Song of Solomon 2:15
Little foxes have lived in all times, in all places. This family happened to live in the deep South in the year 1900. See more »
A fine coming-of-age drama with an instructive moral struggle at its centerbut we remember Bette Davis
The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the 20th century. Regina Giddens née Hubbard (Bette Davis) has her daughter (Teresa Wright) under her thumb. Mrs. Giddens is estranged from her husband (Herbert Marshall), who lives in Chicago 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 (Carl Benton Reid and Charles Dingle). Oscar has a flighty, unhappy wife (Patricia Collinge) and a dishonest worm of a son (Dan Duryea). Will the daughter have to marry this contemptible cousin? Who will she grow up to beher mother or her aunt? Or can she escape the fate of both?
This is the daughter's coming-of-age story, and Teresa Wright gives a good performance. But the commanding role is, of course, Bette Davis's; she dominates our memory of the film, with her fiery but subtle portrait of an evil woman. Collinge as Aunt Birdie gives a performance equal in merit to Davis's. She gives this woman a crushed soul and breaks our hearts. Marshall, with his fine voice and dignified manners, is typically appealing, understated yet impressive. Duryea is enjoyably hissable.
Gregg Toland's deep-focus, black-and-white photography is intensely satisfying throughout, no more so than in all those shots of people walking up the staircase, with the camera at the top of the stairs. The director, William Wyler, demonstrates his usual ability to bring cinematic life to stage plays. Lillian Hellman has adapted her own play, which is too heavy-handed in its leftist sentiments about money and power; but her points about greedy, selfish people are nevertheless well taken. This is a fine drama, with an instructive moral struggle at its center.
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