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Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006)

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.

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, (as Mark Catalena)

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator (voice)
...
Herself (archive footage)
Ruthie Davis ...
Herself (archive footage)
Michael Merrill ...
Himself
...
Himself
Marion Sherry ...
Herself
...
Himself
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)
...
Herself
...
Herself
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Storyline

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

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Certificate:

TV-14
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Details

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Release Date:

3 May 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Bette Davis-Story  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Features The Dick Cavett Show (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Bette Davis: A Life Dusted With Hallmarks and Heartbreak...
17 October 2008 | by (Arlington, VA.) – See all my reviews

As with any Silver Screen documentary co-produced by Turner Classic Movies, you would expect nothing less than an account of the highest quality, and STARDUST: THE BETTE DAVIS STORY does not disappoint. One of the most well-balanced accounts on the actress I've ever had the pleasure of seeing, it manages to be surprisingly subjective by presenting a portrait of one of Hollywood's most celebrated legends warts-and-all, complete with archival footage, sound clips and close-up interviews with friends, fans and those people still with us who knew her best.

By turns it's funny, amazing, amusing and very sad - showing a woman who was as complex as the best roles she played, and as someone who worked tirelessly to make sure that her performances (and in some cases the performances of her co-stars) were never "phoned-in", and how consumed with a passion for the work, she payed a terrible price by all but sacrificing the quality of what could and should've been a wonderful personal life.

But rather than go more deeply into the sordid details of affairs, failed marriages and rivalries with contemporaries and studio execs - especially her "surrogate father", Jack Warner, the doc spends a lot more time reviewing some of Ms. Davis's most lauded (and rightfully so) performances from such greats as NOW, VOYAGER, THE LITTLE FOXES, JEZEBEL and one of my personal favorites, THE LETTER.

Bette Davis was not a conventional Hollywood beauty. But then again, she wasn't a conventional anything. And thank goodness that writer/director Peter Jones saw fit to tell her story in anything but a conventional way. I think she would've really appreciated that.


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