Combining unprecedented access to Davis' vast personal archives with original interviews, this documentary reveals a startling portrait of one of hollywood's most gifted and enigmatic stars.


, (as Mark Catalena)


Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Herself (archive footage)
Ruthie Davis ...
Herself (archive footage)
Michael Merrill ...
Marion Sherry ...
Vincent Sherman ...
Cecil Clovelly ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Casey Robinson ...
Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Himself as Montgomery Royle (archive footage)
Leo Rosten ...
Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)


A standard biography of the famed actress recounting her childhood, early films and her rise to stardom. Her father abandoned the family when she was quite young and she remained close to her domineering mother. As she became more popular she had many fights with Jack Warner, the head of Warner Brothers studio, but eventually managed to exert greater control over her career. She was nominated for several Oscars. Her private life life included several failed marriages and she was deeply hurt when her daughter, who was her closest companion for several years, wrote a tell-all and unflattering memoir of her life. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

3 May 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Bette Davis-Story  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This documentary claims that Arliss saw Bette in a play,"The Wild Duck". In fact, character actor Murray Kinnell after working with Davis advised Arliss to have her read for him, as he knew Arliss was looking for a specific type for a film and Kinnell thought that Davis might suit Arliss. Arliss was unfamiliar with Davis but had worked with Kinnell in the theater as well as on film. See more »


Features The Catered Affair (1956) See more »


Star Dust
Music by Hoagy Carmichael
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole
See more »

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User Reviews

This really shows what BD became...
5 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

...And how it Broke Bette's heart.

I became very interested in Bette after seeing this the first time in 2006 when I came out... Not that I did not already love her as one of my favourite actresses... But because of this documentary, I have changed my opinion of Miss Davis, as not just one of the best, but The Best Actress, ever.

And as such, she was never really left a moment's peace in her personal life. However, this documentary shows, that fact never affected Davis work ethic, and she plod on regardless of what was going on with her life.

I think the documentary ought to have had a bit more to say about The Hollywood Canteen, a pivotal point in her career, and one that awarded her the highest civilian honour in real life, even above Bob Hope. It is almost like I am proud to be a Davis fan because of what she did for our Servicemen in WWII.

A lot of people always measure Davis by the Joan Crawford Yardstick... And the documentary maker here also does that, to a small degree. I think in reality, Davis probably never had the slightest Crawford, but Crawford, who was always combative with the other high profile stars at her studios (aka, Norma Shearer at MGM) - It is almost as if, Since Norma Shearer, who beat Crawford hands down at MGM, retired in 1941... Crawford targeted Miss Davis as her new "antagonist"- Something which I don't think Davis thought of at all, as any Crawford/Davis feud (Or Crawford/Shearer feud) was always more so on the part of Crawford. It is a sad laughable thing about Crawford, not that it makes me disrespect Crawford for it, but Davis just wasn't like that at all, Miss Davis was always more interested in the health of the Film (to the point of micromanaging things) to deal with petty Crawford Feuds.

The documentary maker of this, I think could have used better wisdom collecting the filmed anecdotal items: Such as those comments from Davis Former Husband William Grant Sherry's wife (who used to be Davis' nanny - I forget her name, but her name is unimportant, as, the PERSON is unimportant) - I can't believe that the documentary makers would use that particular source of footage- INCLUDING the footage where the woman, if I could loosely use that term woman, just about makes a blanket statement that Bette had something to do with Arthur Farnsworth's untimely death.

I appreciate the clips from Bob Osbourne and James Woods... And it is important to show all aspects of the person, but Betty was as complicated as anyone- The film does however show the high level of disrespect of BD Hyman toward her mother, something that shocked me, especially as how Hyman considers herself not just a Christian, but a Minister: And As Such is a very Poor example of one.

The tragedy of this documentary are the clips from BD, whose betrayal must have hurt Bette more than anything done to her by anyone else in her lifetime.

I am glad that they showed the BD clips, as they show this Girl/Woman, whom Davis loved more than anything... What an inconsiderate Phony "Christian" she was and is, using a "Mommy Dearest" attack to accumulate 100,000 dollars (which is more than the usual sum publishers forked out in those days) which she claims to have used to Christian Ministries:

And if I were to tell this BD Hyman anything, it would be that money obtained from the public Disrespect of one's blood Parent... Is NOT money that God has blessed and has put His hand on.

This documentary shows this disrespect, and not in a flattering light toward Hyman.

Hyman did not consider, that good ministry, IS looked at by the public, and if Hyman's anti-Mom books are considered by Hyman as something God either WANTED, Ordained, or Supported: That She is WRONG and as a Christian I want nothing to do with THAT God, who would allow parental disrespect as a means to access money for so-called Christian Works, and any Minister or Ministry that is FOUNDED on such.

I am glad that the original book was laughed off of the shelves by the critics. - Hyman was revealed as a Hypocrite who needs to either shut-up or make it right with her Mother.

BD, Your Mother loved you, and you can actually make it right even now.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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