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Payment on Demand (1951)

 -  Drama  -  3 February 1951 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 742 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

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)... See full synopsis »

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Title: Payment on Demand (1951)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joyce Ramsey (nee Jackson)
...
David Anderson Ramsey
Jane Cowl ...
Mrs. Emily Hedges
Kent Taylor ...
Robert Townsend
...
Martha Ramsey
John Sutton ...
Anthony Tunliffe
Frances Dee ...
Eileen Benson
...
Diana Ramsey
...
Ted Prescott
Walter Sande ...
Swanson
Brett King ...
Phil Polanski
...
Jim Boland
...
Mrs. Edna Blanton
Katherine Emery ...
Lisa Golm ...
Molly
Edit

Storyline

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)... See full synopsis »

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

I MADE HIM ... now I'LL break him! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jane Cowl's last film. 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 »

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User Reviews

 
A solid story about business success and marital disintegration that was remarkable for its time
9 February 2000 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

"Payment on Demand" begins when David tells Joyce that he wants a divorce. In flashbacks we see how the couple came from humble beginnings and worked their way into affluence. David started from being a lawyer with no clients and worked his way up to being vice president of his best client, a steel company. Joyce was always preoccupied with security, money and status; she is a selfish, manipulative social climber and we can readily see why David wants out. As always, Bette Davis plays the bitch with consummate skill.

What follows shows the old-style divorce process at its worst and chronicles Joyce's life as a single woman. While this part is very well written, it is dated. We learn that an older single woman has no life (other than having to pay younger men to sleep with them) and you're always better off with a man.

While the themes of this film may seem pretty conventional by today's standards, they were anything but in 1951. Divorce was a subject literally ruled off the screen by the very Catholic-oriented Hays Code. Aside from frothy romantic comedies like "The Awful Truth," people just didn't get divorced because they were fed up with their spouses. Nor do films of that Hays era (from 1934 until 1968) ever delve into the actual process of contested divorce (such as the negotiations about property settlements). This film does all that. While the ending may seem disappointing (and was probably a concession to the censors), the rest of the film is excellent and way ahead of its time.


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