Jezebel (1938) Poster

(1938)

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  • Julie Marsden (Bette Davis), a bossy and free-spirited Southern belle in Antebellum Louisiana, shocks high society by wearing a 'saucy' red ball gown to the Olympus Ball where all unwed ladies are expected to wear white. She and her fiancé, banker Preston 'Pres' Dillard (Henry Fonda), are consequently shunned during a dance, and Pres decides that the time has come to break his engagement to the rebellious Julie. Distraught, but refusing to show it, Julie waits a year for Pres to return, certain that he won't be able to stay away from her. When he does return, it is with his new wife Amy (Margaret Lindsay), but Julie is determined to win him back anyway. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Jezebel was adapted by screenwriters Clements Ripley, Abem Finkel, John Huston, and Robert Buckner from an original play, also titled Jezebel, by American playwright Owen Davis, Sr. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Antebellum refers to the years before the American Civil War [1861-1865], particularly in reference to the Southern states or the Confederacy. The word comes from Latin ante 'before' + bellum 'war'. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The story takes place in 1852, evidenced when Julie exclaims, 'This is 1852, not the Dark Ages!' Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Also referred to in the movie as yellow fever and yellow plague, yellow jack is a viral disease transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. Symptoms include high fever, chills, nausea, bleeding disorders, muscle pain, and headache, and can lead to liver damage causing yellow jaundice, hence the name of the disease. A vaccine against yellow jack was developed in the mid-1900s. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • During the welcome-back party, when Aunt Belle (Fay Bainter) is playing the piano, Pres goes outside into the garden. Watch for the scene in which he swats his hand. Presumably, this is when he contacts yellow jack from a mosquito. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Abolitionists, in the mid-1800s, were those who were attempting to abolish slavery in the United States. Slavery was eventually abolished in 1865 by the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • In modern vernacular, a 'jezebel' is a woman who is regarded as sexually immoral or manipulative. The name comes from the Christian Bible, 1 and 2 Kings, in which Jezebel is portrayed as an evil queen who worships a false god and leads men astray. In one scene, Aunt Belle calls Julie a jezebel who also 'did evil in the sight of God'. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Julie pleads with Amy to let her be the one to accompany Pres to Lazaret Island where those stricken with yellow jack are being taken. At first, Amy refuses, arguing that it is her duty to be at his side, but Julie eventually convinces her that she (Julie) is the tougher one, having the strength needed to fight for Pres' food, medicines, and shelter. Eventually, Amy gives in and allows Julie to be Pres' advocate, but not before she asks Julie whether Preston is still in love with her. 'Pres loves his wife,' Julie replies. In the final scene, Julie rides on the wagon bearing Pres to Lazaret Island. Edit (Coming Soon)

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