The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the 20th century. Regina Giddens née Hubbard has her daughter under her thumb. Mrs Giddens is estranged from her husband, who is convalescing in Baltimore and suffers from a terminal illness. But she needs him home, and will manipulate her daughter to help bring him back. She has a sneaky business deal that she's cooking up with her two elder brothers, Oscar and Ben. Oscar has a flighty, unhappy wife and a dishonest worm of a son. Will the daughter have to marry this contemptible cousin? Who will she grow up to be - her mother or her aunt? Or can she escape the fate of both?Written by
When Regina returns home to find Horace in her part of the house, she clearly takes her left glove off before walking towards the staircase. Seconds later, after Horace tells her about the investment in the cotton mill, she turns around at the bottom of the staircase and takes her left glove off again. See more »
[while riding into town]
Good mornin' Harold.
[looking up from shining the sign that reads 'The Planters Trust Company / Horace Giddens / President']
Mornin' miss Ann. What does your papa write to from Baltimore?
He writes that he feels better Harold.
Dat's good. Write him my greetins and tell him don't worry 'bout da brass - I'm keepin' his name fine and clean.
Thanks, I will.
Mm-mmm, those crabs'll make fine eatins Addie.
They bettah, we got high-toe company for dinner tonight.
Yum, bye ...
[...] See more »
Opening credits prologue: "Take us the foxes, The little foxes, that spoil the vines:
For our vines have tender grapes." The Song of Solomon 2:15
Little foxes have lived in all times, in all places. This family happened to live in the deep South in the year 1900. See more »
Never Too Weary to Pray
Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Sung off-screen by an unidentified group during the opening and closing credits See more »
A fine coming-of-age drama with an instructive moral struggle at its center—but we remember Bette Davis
The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the 20th century. Regina Giddens née Hubbard (Bette Davis) has her daughter (Teresa Wright) under her thumb. Mrs. Giddens is estranged from her husband (Herbert Marshall), who lives in Chicago and suffers from a terminal illness. But she needs him home, and will manipulate her daughter to help bring him back. She has a sneaky business deal that she's cooking up with her two elder brothers, Oscar and Ben (Carl Benton Reid and Charles Dingle). Oscar has a flighty, unhappy wife (Patricia Collinge) and a dishonest worm of a son (Dan Duryea). Will the daughter have to marry this contemptible cousin? Who will she grow up to be—her mother or her aunt? Or can she escape the fate of both?
This is the daughter's coming-of-age story, and Teresa Wright gives a good performance. But the commanding role is, of course, Bette Davis's; she dominates our memory of the film, with her fiery but subtle portrait of an evil woman. Collinge as Aunt Birdie gives a performance equal in merit to Davis's. She gives this woman a crushed soul and breaks our hearts. Marshall, with his fine voice and dignified manners, is typically appealing, understated yet impressive. Duryea is enjoyably hissable.
Gregg Toland's deep-focus, black-and-white photography is intensely satisfying throughout, no more so than in all those shots of people walking up the staircase, with the camera at the top of the stairs. The director, William Wyler, demonstrates his usual ability to bring cinematic life to stage plays. Lillian Hellman has adapted her own play, which is too heavy-handed in its leftist sentiments about money and power; but her points about greedy, selfish people are nevertheless well taken. This is a fine drama, with an instructive moral struggle at its center.
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