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Jezebel (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 26 March 1938 (USA)
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In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Clements Ripley (screen play), Abem Finkel (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Julie Marsden
Henry Fonda ... Preston Dillard
George Brent ... Buck Cantrell
Margaret Lindsay ... Amy Bradford Dillard
Donald Crisp ... Dr. Livingstone
Fay Bainter ... Aunt Belle Massey
Richard Cromwell ... Ted Dillard
Henry O'Neill ... General Theopholus Bogardus
Spring Byington ... Mrs. Kendrick
John Litel ... Jean La Cour
Gordon Oliver ... Dick Allen
Janet Shaw ... Molly Allen
Theresa Harris ... Zette
Margaret Early ... Stephanie Kendrick
Irving Pichel ... Huger
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Storyline

In one of her most renowned roles, Bette Davis portrays Julie Marsden, a spoiled Southern belle who risks losing her suitor with her impetuous behavior. Engaged to successful banker Preston Dillard, Julie pushes him away with her arrogant and contrary ways, leading to a scandalous scene at a major social event and his subsequent departure. When Preston eventually returns and Julie attempts to win him back, she discovers that it may be too late. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Half angel...half siren...all woman! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

26 March 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jezabel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally a flop play on Broadway starring Bette Davis' nemesis Miriam Hopkins. Hopkins assumed she was contractually set to star in the film adaptation, but the contract only specified she would be "considered" for the film version. See more »

Goofs

In the scene in which Julie is sewing her dress she hums "Beautiful Dreamer". The story takes place 1852-53 and "Beautiful Dreamer" wasn't written until 1864. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Buck Cantrell: [to cabby] Boy, stop here.
[to Dick]
Buck Cantrell: Might as well get us a bottle.
Dick Allen: Julie'll have plenty to drink at the ball.
Buck Cantrell: Yes, pardon Dick - always messed up with cherries n' such. Come on.
[to cabby]
Buck Cantrell: Wait right here.
Driver: Yes sir, Mr. Cantrell sir.
[Buck and Dick enter the St. Louis Hotel]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in P.S. I Love You (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
(1862) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Foster
Sung and hummed by Bette Davis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"1852, we're in 1852 darling, not the dark ages"
19 February 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Jezebel was Bette Davis's consolation prize for losing the Scarlett O'Hara sweepstakes. Considering the sacrifice that the title character makes in this film, it is fitting and proper that Davis got this role because she could have had Scarlett, but she wouldn't make Gone With the Wind if it included Errol Flynn as Rhett Butler.

Julie Marsden is as willful and and spiteful a southern belle as Scarlett O'Hara ever could be. But Scarlett would never deliberately violate the code the way Julie does and wear that red dress to a cotillion. Just simply not done in the best families.

Bette Davis is Julie and while she's going to be married to the very proper Henry Fonda, she likes the idea that she can still turn the head of every young blade in New Orleans. Especially George Brent's head as the dashing Buck Cantrell.

When Fonda doesn't jump at her beck and call he prefers doing business to catering to her whims she decides on a daring move. This is a woman who cannot stand not being the center of attention. She wears a red dress to a cotillion when polite society dictates that all the unmarried young ladies wear white. When she does, New Orleans society shuns her as effectively as the Amish can and Davis retreats to her plantation upriver.

Fonda goes north and returns after a while to New Orleans with Margaret Lindsay who he is now married to. An insult our southern belle won't put up with. Davis sets in motion a string of events that results in a lot of tragedy.

I have to say that just a description of the plot seems a bit ridiculous at times, but Bette Davis does make this whole thing quite believable. She won her second Oscar for Best Actress in this film and as her aunt who occasionally gives her a reality check every now and then Fay Bainter was named Best Supporting Actress of 1938.

Fonda and Brent are fine in their parts, but they are in support of Bette Davis in a Bette Davis film. Another performance I liked is that of Donald Crisp as the doctor who fights a lot of prejudice and ignorance in New Orleans in trying to deal with yellow fever.

Looming over all of the film is the knowledge we have that this society will come crashing down in another eight years or so in events so well told in Gone With the Wind. This film should be seen back to back with Gone With the Wind as a view of southern society.

This was Bette Davis's first film with director William Wyler who she admired above all other directors. Davis was not generous with praise for colleagues so any kind words towards one are really something. Apparently Wyler did have the magic touch in handling Bette.

Jezebel is one of Bette Davis's finest films, maybe not the finest, but definitely right up there. Unlike Davis's first Oscar for Dangerous which she said was a consolation for not winning for Of Human Bondage, this one she was proud of. And we're proud of it too.


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