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Middle-aged Oscar winning actress Margaret Elliot - Maggie to those that know her - is a Hollywood has-been. Her life is in shambles. She clings to the hope of resurrecting her past movie stardom as a leading ingénue. No one will hire her, she's penniless with creditors selling off anything that she owns that is of monetary value, and she has no one to turn to that can see her through financially. She has in the past supported her sister and brother-in-law, who still want to use her as their meal ticket. Divorced from her actor husband, she shares joint custody of their teen-aged daughter Gretchen, from who Maggie tries to hide her problems. When it looks as if Maggie has hit rock bottom, Jim Johannsen re-enters her life. Jim, who once had the stage name Barry Lester, got his big break in Hollywood movies by Maggie. He came to the quick realization that he was neither good as an actor or that he wanted to do it as a profession. He now works as a boat parts supplier and mechanic. Jim ... Written by
The photo used to advertise the auction is a promotional still from the movie Dark Victory (1939). See more »
Late in the movie there is a scene at the home of Harry Stone, Margaret's agent. As he is telling his wife, Phyllis, about the poor results of Margaret's screen test, the two are walking through the house. The shadow of the boom mic can be seen on the wall behind them as they are walking. See more »
"I Know Lance Garfield, pretty well...you don't know HOW well I know your brother".
I loved this movie! I campaigned 20th Century Fox to bring it out on video because my copy was on BETA and my Betamax has long since broke. What's interesting about this movie is that it was first offered to Joan Crawford who turned it down flat. At the same time, "Sudden Fear" was presented to Davis, who didn't like the script. Davis also turned down "Come Back, Little Sheba". Well, guess what? Davis accepted "The Star", Joan accepted "Sudden Fear" and Shirley Booth got the chance to repeat her stage success in "Sheba" and all three got nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 1952! Amazing.
Bette Davis did everything but hit the ceiling in "The Star". She was trying her best to give an Academy Award-type performance. And it was. Margaret to her agent: "You can do everything but get me a picture, can't you?! Harry Stone, the big star-maker, the gentleman agent, my friend!" That was one of the early great lines uttered by has-been movie queen, Margaret Elliot. There were many more to come. Davis turned in a realistic performance as the aging star and conveyed the frustrations that many older performers feel when they realize the truth about their failing careers.
Margaret is torn between her fear of age, her devotion to her young daughter and her drive to be "put back where I belong." She is saddled with a family that she had cared for, financially, since she became a star and their inability to understand that she was no longer a rich and famous actress. I loved the scene when she throws out her sister and brother-in-law in a fit of screaming anger, then grabs her Oscar and takes a drunken ride through the streets of Beverly Hills. After her arrest, Margaret pays a visit to her agent's office. He tell her that she's had his office "running around in circles". Margaret retorts, "Well I'VE been 'running around in circles', too! But not MARGARET ELLIOT circles!"
When Margaret gets the chance to tryout for a movie ("The Fatal Winter") she's wanted for years, she's informed that she is not reading for the lead, but the lead's older sister, Sara. Elliot plots to convince the producers that she should play the younger part by botching the screen test, playing the older sister like a young siren.
Sara: "It isn't like you to pay a social visit, Jed Garfield, what are you doing here?" Jed: "You got it fixed up real nice, Sara, real nice". Sara: "I like things nice. What do you want?" Jed: "You used to be quite a girl, you still think you are, don't you?" Sara: "I still know what's right from wrong." Jed: "You think it's right to tell folks you were in the lane the night of the murder?" Sara: "I was there, Jed Garfield, you KNOW I was there..." Jed: "Well, if you was there, what was you doin' there?" Sara: "None of your business what I was doing there." Jed: "Well, it's my business if you're tryin' to ruin my brother." Sara: "Maybe I was thinking what he tried to do to me." Jed: "You don't know Lance, when he's crossed." Sara: "I know Lance Garfield, pretty well! You don't know HOW well, I know your brother."
She played this like a flirting, young teenager and the test was awful. But it was wonderful ACTING by Miss Bette Davis!
For those who expect to see Margo Channing of "All About Eve", they won't see her here. Davis IS Margaret Elliot! When she said to the old women at the department store, "I AM Margaret Elliot, and I intend to STAY 'Margaret Elliot'!" she meant it.
I am crazy about the entire movie. The ending is contrived, but so what? This is what Davis herself described: A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED BETTE DAVIS MOVIE! Pop some corn, get a candy bar and a big soda and watch this on a very rainy day.
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