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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.

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(screen play), (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:
... Julie Marsden
... Preston Dillard
... Buck Cantrell
... Amy Bradford Dillard
... Dr. Livingstone
... Aunt Belle Massey
... Ted Dillard
... General Theopholus Bogardus
... Mrs. Kendrick
... Jean La Cour
... Dick Allen
... Molly Allen
... Zette
... Stephanie Kendrick
... Huger
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Storyline

Set in antebellum New Orleans during the early 1850's, this film follows Julie Marsden through her quest for social redemption on her own terms. Julie is a beautiful and free spirited, rapacious Southern belle who is sure of herself and controlling of her fiancé Preston Dillard, a successful young banker. Julie's sensitive but domineering personality--she does not want so much to hurt as to assert her independence--forces a wedge between Preston and herself. To win him back, she plays North against South amid a deadly epidemic of yellow fever which claims a surprising victim. Written by Adam Brodsky <adam_brodsky@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

As brilliant as only the screen's finest actress could be! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jezabel  »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Wyler was not very impressed with Margaret Lindsay. Feeling she couldn't convincingly convey strength in her final confrontation with Bette Davis, he shot their scene on a staircase, keeping Lindsay a few steps higher than Davis the entire time so that she was visually dominant. In her memoirs, Davis claimed he also inserted a shot of Lindsay's hand on the banister, with the character's wedding ring prominently featured, but there is no such shot in the film. See more »

Goofs

At the dressmaker's shop Julie holds up the red dress in front of her to see how it looks. It has sleeves. She takes it home with her and shows it to Preston. The next day is the ball and when she appears in it,the dress is now sleeveless. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Belle: Pres has always loved you in white. If he isn't simply bowled over by it, I won't know what to think.
Julie: [speaking to an assistant who carries off a red dress] Wait a minute. Bring that over here. Saucy, isn't it?
Aunt Belle: And vulgar!
Julie: Yes, isn't it? Come on, get me out of this.
Aunt Belle: Julie, what are you doing?
Julie: If it fits me, I'm gonna wear it to the Olympus Ball.
Aunt Belle: A red dress to the Olympus Ball? Why, you're out of your senses.
Julie: ...Mary Vickers couldn't possibly do it justice.
Aunt Belle: Child, you're out of your mind. You ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen See more »

Connections

Featured in Nancy Drew (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
(1862) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Foster
Sung and hummed by Bette Davis
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Southern Discomfort
19 November 2005 | by See all my reviews

The American South has always had an aura of sadness around it. I don't know why exactly. This film tends to reinforce that perception. Characters start off with high hopes for the future, only to succumb to some unfortunate fate, as a direct result of their Southern roots.

In pre-Civil War New Orleans, Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) is a wealthy young woman, engaged to respected banker Preston Dillard (Henry Fonda). But Julie is strong-willed, independent, and impetuous, traits considered unwomanly by that era's Southern aristocracy. Against Preston's wishes, Julie wears a red dress, instead of the customary white, to a gala ball. This event sets up the rest of the story.

While the support cast in "Jezebel" is fine, especially Fay Bainter, the film would not be the same without Bette Davis. I just can't see anyone else in the role of Julie. Davis' performance and the film's setting are what make this film so memorable. The costumes, the production design, the cinematography, and the music combine to convey a genuine sense of the antebellum South, with its stately manners that conceal narrow-mindedness and barbaric "chivalry".

Normally, I don't care for films whose subject matter is long ago history. But "Jezebel" is an exception, because it is so well made. I guess it is the tone of the film that really got my attention. The stately beauty of that time and place masks an underlying sadness, as a prelude to tragedy. Some might call it melodrama. But to me, that's just good drama.


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