7.4/10
1,032
17 user 3 critic

Payment on Demand (1951)

Approved | | Drama | 3 February 1951 (USA)
The film is about divorce but with flashbacks as to why divorce occurs.

Director:

Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

June Bride (1948)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A magazine's staff, including bickering ex-lovers Linda and Carey, cover an Indiana wedding, which goes slightly wrong...

Director: Bretaigne Windust
Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Montgomery, Fay Bainter
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In an isolated house, mystery writer Janet Frobisher is involved in potentially murderous relationships.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, Gary Merrill, Emlyn Williams
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Spinster poetess Susan Grieve lives in a Manhattan apartment where naval hero Slick Novak comes with her for a nightcap. Next morning they visit her Connecticut farm where Novak tells her ... See full summary »

Director: Bretaigne Windust
Stars: Bette Davis, Janis Paige, Jim Davis
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

While waiting on a delayed flight, David Trask, who has left his unfaithful wife, meets three of his fellow passengers. When the aircraft crashes, he is one of few survivors, and sets out to resolve their unfinished business.

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Bette Davis, Shelley Winters, Gary Merrill
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Rosa Moline is bored with life in a small town. She loves Chicago industrialist Neil Latimer who has a hunting lodge nearby. Rosa squeezes her husband's patients to pay their bills so she ... See full summary »

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, David Brian
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

At breakfast, Jane announces that she and Ralph are getting married the next week. All Jane and Ralph want is a small wedding with the immediate family and no reception, because Jane's ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Old friends Kit Marlowe and Millie Drake adopt contrasting lifestyles: Kit is a single, critically acclaimed author while married Millie writes popular pulp novels.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Gig Young
A Stolen Life (1946)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When a woman's twin sister is drowned, she assumes her identity in order to be close to the man she feels her sister took from her years before.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, Dane Clark
Storm Center (1956)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A small-town librarian is branded as a Communist by local politicians when she refuses to withdraw a controversial book from the library's shelves.

Director: Daniel Taradash
Stars: Bette Davis, Brian Keith, Kim Hunter
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A divorced couple's teen-age daughter stands trial for stabbing her mother's latest lover.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Bette Davis, Susan Hayward, Mike Connors
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Allen Jenkins
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Mary Donnell, a young legal secretary with a past, elopes with a client's son, but his father has the marriage annulled without knowing she's pregnant.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Anita Louise
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joyce Ramsey (nee Jackson)
...
David Anderson Ramsey
...
Mrs. Emily Hedges
...
Robert Townsend
...
...
Anthony Tunliffe
...
Eileen Benson
...
Diana Ramsey
...
Ted Prescott
...
Swanson
Brett King ...
Phil Polanski
...
Jim Boland
...
Mrs. Edna Blanton
Katherine Emery ...
Mrs. Gates
Lisa Golm ...
Molly
Edit

Storyline

The film is about divorce but with flashbacks as to why divorce occurs.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The one sin no woman ever forgives. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 February 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Story of a Divorce  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Davis' 3 year-old daughter Barbara (Always called, "B.D.") makes her debut in the first of her 2 film roles as Joyce's daughter as a young girl. (The other was the neighbor's daughter in "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane." See more »

Goofs

Shadow on the wall to the right as it pulls back from the conference room after the divorce settlement meeting. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Edna Blanton: It's a man's world. They get everything out of it. I've told Fred hundreds of times, I'd never divorce him. No matter what he did, he couldn't make me divorce him. I'm his wife till death do us part - and I'm very healthy!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

A Woman's Intuition
(uncredited)
Music by Victor Young
Lyrics by Ned Washington
Sung by Bette Davis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Divorce story somewhat ahead of its time
4 June 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I was a kid, the next door neighbor was "divorced." You would have thought she was the town hooker. People just did not get divorced in the '50s.

Taken with that framework, 1951's "Payment on Demand" is quite interesting. The Ramseys, David and Joyce (Barry Sullivan and Bette Davis), have been married for about 21 years and have two daughters (Betty Lynn and Peggie Castle). One day, a grumpy David comes home and announces that he wants a divorce. Joyce is shocked, though she really shouldn't be. She and her husband have widely divergent values. She's an ambitious, social-climbing, greedy bitch, and he wanted to have a practice with his partner Robert (Kent Taylor) and live on a farm. The life she has driven him into has made him miserable.

In flashback, Joyce reviews their young love and early marriage, during which she manages to steer a lucrative client her husband's way -- and away from his partner Robert. When Robert finds out, an important friendship ends. When Joyce gives birth to their second child, David informs her that they're moving to San Francisco so he can work with his client's new business, and he'd like to buy a farm outside the city. Joyce may be weak from childbirth, but she manages to gather enough strength to make a scene. From there, she manages to get in with the society crowd, even though her husband tells her he doesn't like "snooty people." And on it goes.

The couple separate; Joyce finds out David is seeing someone and uses it to get an enormous settlement with the threat that she'll ruin the woman's reputation. Then she goes on a cruise and learns something. Loneliness isn't fun.

This is a somewhat old-fashioned look at divorce, focusing on loneliness and the misery of not having a man instead of a woman building a new life for herself and enjoying a sense of freedom. There's a lot of warning about what happens to older women. While some of that has truth to it, the script doesn't allow that there's anything in life that will bring happiness except marriage or companionship.

"Payment on Demand" offers Bette Davis a somewhat typical role as a controlling, difficult woman with shallow values, but one who learns a few lessons along the way. She's excellent. Jane Cowl, who had passed away by the time this film was released, is Mrs. Hedges, an older woman with a young "protege" - she's very good. Barry Sullivan is the long-suffering husband; he always worked well with these strong actresses, and he hands in a sympathetic performance here. John Sutton is a man Joyce meets on a cruise, and he's appropriately elegant.

Good film probably not appreciated today because we're so used to divorce, settlements, and infidelity. For the average person, this was big stuff in the '50s, when my mother's generation was just getting married and beginning their families.


17 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?