37 user 21 critic

Beyond the Forest (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance | 21 October 1949 (USA)
Resentful of her small-town life, a married woman schemes to run off with a rich businessman.


King Vidor
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Rosa Moline
Joseph Cotten ... Doctor Louis Moline
David Brian ... Neil Latimer
Ruth Roman ... Carol Lawson
Minor Watson ... Moose Lawson
Dona Drake ... Jenny
Regis Toomey ... Sorren
Sarah Selby ... Mildred Sorren


Rosa Moline is bored with life in a small town. She loves Chicago industrialist Neil Latimer who has a hunting lodge nearby. Rosa squeezes her husband's patients to pay their bills so she can visit Chicago; her husband's patience is also tried: he tells her to go and never come back. Once there, Neil tells her he doesn't want her. Back home and pregnant, Neil shows up and now wants her. The caretaker at Neil's lodge threatens to reveal her pregnancy... Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Did You Know?


Is referenced in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Martha repeatedly asks George for the name of the movie where Bette Davis says, "What a dump!" See more »


Near the end, as Rosa prepares to catch the Chicago train, the camera dollies backwards, away from her, and as it does, the equipment bangs into her closet door, causing the clothes hanging on it to sway back-and-forth. See more »


Rosa Moline: [to Neil] I came here dragging myself on my hands and knees with no pride. Me! Rosa Moline! And you don't want me. I'm not good enough. You taught me my place all right.
[She slams the car door in his face]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film begins after the opening credits with this warning title: This is the story of evil. Evil is headstrong - is puffed up. For our souls sake, it is salutory for us to view it in all it's ugly nakedness once in a while. Thus may we know how those who deliver themselves over to it end up like the scorpion, in a mad frenzy stinging themselves to eternal death. See more »


Featured in All About Bette (1994) See more »


Music by Fred Fisher (1922)
Heard throughout as part of the background score
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User Reviews

An intense Bette Davis in a forceful Ibsenesque melodrama
20 November 2001 | by GeofbobSee all my reviews

It was interesting seeing this soon after seeing The Man Who Wasn't There, the Coen brothers would-be 40s film-noir. Both movies are set in small towns, have way-out plots involving violent crime and illicit love, and feature main protagonists trying to get out of a rut. But whereas the Coens' nouveau-noir plays it deadpan, philosophical and slow, and thereby risks boring the audience stiff; the genuine article with King Vidor at the helm, races along, goes way over the top, and glues the viewer to the screen.

Melodramatic and flawed though it may be, I don't go along with those who regard the movie merely as a camp vehicle for some arch Bette Davis overacting as the "evil" Rosa Moline. This film has genuine substance and potency, and Hedda Gabler-like Rosa's near-hysterical exasperation with the suffocating small town atmosphere - symbolised by the ever-present smoke and dust from the local sawmill - and with her dull, worthy, medico husband (Joseph Cotton), must have rung a bell with many American and other women in the stifling post-war years. Her "What a dump!" quite probably echoed their inner thoughts, as may her reluctance to have a baby (contrasted in the film with another woman's eighth, delivered by the good doctor). Moreover, despite Davis playing a woman at least 10 years younger than her actual age, her scenes with David Brian as her wealthy lover are truly erotic, and some of the lines may raise eyebrows even today.

Those who dismiss this film should perhaps give it another chance, try to place it in the context of its era, and possibly ponder on how some of the "cool" masterpieces of today will be viewed by their grandchildren in 50 years time.

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Release Date:

21 October 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rosa Moline See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Tahoe, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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