Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge, and predictable complications result.
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
Bette Davis allegedly took 45 takes to perfect the scene where she lifts her riding skirt with her crop. See more »
When the sheriff shoots the "yellow jack" runaway at Halcyon Plantation, he uses a lever-action repeating rifle. This type of weapon was first patented in 1860; the action takes place in 1853. See more »
To the very good health of the future Mrs. Dillard.
Buck, aren't you going to wish me happiness, too?
What's the use? You won't get it, marrying a traitor and going up North.
Pres is a banker, not a traitor. I'll thank you to remember that.
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The credits are blurred across the screen See more »
Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »
A first rate Davis/Wyler collaboration from the Golden Era
This was the film about deep Southern attitudes vs Northern attitudes that came out before "Gone With the Wind" and left Davis out of the running for the role of Scarlet O'Hara. It was the second film she made with director William Wyler and the best of the three. She also won her second Academy Award for the role. Davis' character, Julie, is not all that unlike Scarlet. She is very headstrong and full of bad decisions, but this is what makes the film work so well. Her character is compelling in that you feel like you are watching a train wreck in action. It's horrible but you can't look away. This is the earliest of the films I watched from Davis' Golden Era and she is quite young, very attractive, with an array of beautiful costumes to wear. Plus the cinematography and sets are thick with atmosphere.
"Jezebel" does have the somewhat same patronizing attitude towards blacks that "Gone With the Wind" had, but at least it wasn't as objectionable as it was in "Little Foxes," Davis' next and final collaboration with Wyler. Aside from Davis, who really does give a great performance, Henry Fonda is quite memorable. Yet on top of everything, the ending is so unusual for a film of this period that it just made my jaw drop. Of all the Bette Davis films I've seen from this period of her career I rate this one the highest. It's a classic for sure, and is far more than just a Bette Davis film, certainly well worth experiencing.
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