A piano teacher believes that her fiancé, a cellist, was killed on the battlefield. When he returns alive, they marry, but are menaced and threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer she started dating on the rebound.
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.
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
Fox starlet Barbara Lawrence's presence is felt even though her actual screen time is brief. Besides her fleeting cameo appearance, she is referred to at least five other times as the young nemesis to Bette Davis' aging star. She is mentioned as an up-and-coming prospect by an agent, a drunken Davis drives by her house in a mock tour of stars' homes, her image appears in a drugstore ad that confronts Davis, Davis stops to stare at a huge portrait of Lawrence before entering her prospective producer's office, and she spitefully uses Lawrence's vacant dressing room to change alter her make-up before her screen test. For added Hollywood verisimilitude, references are made to other contemporaneous Fox stars including Victor Mature, Debra Paget, Mitzi Gaynor, and Jeanne Crain. Curiously there is a reference to an actor named Ralph Bellows, who's playing the rich, stuffy second lead. This is an obvious reference to the screen persona of Ralph Bellamy, who was not under contract to Fox at the time. See more »
When Margaret goes to work in a department store, she descends an escalator and all sorts of electrical cables from the film production can be seen on the floor beneath. See more »
Much of the reason Bette Davis did this movie was because it was apparently a movie based, in part, on the life of Joan Crawford. While this was never announced by the studio for fear of legal action, Bette apparently delighted in doing the part because she loathed Joan so much! Oddly, the movie also COULD have been based on Davis' life as well, as there were also many parallels, but I doubt if Miss Davis noticed this.
The star in the title refers to a down and out and faded movie star who is all but forgotten and given to getting drunk and screwing up her life. As a result, it is a very tough film to watch, as your skin crawls in embarrassment at just how low this actress has fallen. However, despite this, it is an excellent and "in your face" melodrama about the dark side of stardom. Davis' performance is excellent and just plain creepy!
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