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Payment on Demand (1951)

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

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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
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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 »
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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

The film was made before Bette Davis' comeback film, All About Eve (1950), but wasn't released until the year after. 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

Joyce Ramsey: [to husband David] You tell me what it's worth to be civilized...
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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