A lawyer whose wife has had an affair sets out to leave her by flying to LA. He becomes ever more involved in the lives of a few fellow travelers on a journey that ends up showing him as much about himself as about the others.
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 »
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
Desperate for money, fading movie queen Bette Davis (as Margaret "Maggie" Elliot) reluctantly auctions off some of her possessions. What she really wants is one good picture; but, Ms. Davis is thought too old for the kind of films audiences attend. When her fresh-faced daughter Natalie Wood (as Gretchen) asks if she's "washed up," mother Davis says she's making a movie in a few weeks. But, there is no film deal. Sadly, Davis picks up her Academy Award and says, "C'mon Oscar, let's you and me get drunk!"
"You don't seem to know why I am!" screams a drunken Davis, after reckless driving lands her in jail. She is bailed out by hunky ex-actor Sterling Hayden (as Jim Johannson), an actor she once helped get a movie role. He tries to get Davis back on her feat, and encourages her to take a job as a saleslady in a department store. The two go sailing with little Natalie and look like they are forming a nice family of three. But, Davis wants to make a comeback, and reestablish herself as "The Star" of Hollywood.
This film was purportedly prepared for Joan Crawford, who would seem more suited to this particular character. In real life, Davis would have embraced the "older sister" part addressed in the storyline; and, Crawford would have done to the role exactly what Davis' character does. Both actresses knew their routines. There is nothing revelatory here - but Davis, who had the role in her back pocket, is excellent. Her typically fine, and entertaining, work resulted in another "Academy Award" nomination.
******* The Star (12/11/52) Stuart Heisler ~ Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden, Natalie Wood, Warner Anderson
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