- What parts could she have played that she didn't?
Her range got more and more limited as she got older, e.g., "Dead Ringers" where she's so affected she can barely get a line out.
She's perfect in AAE, but it's a great part. Aside for the campiness of "Baby Jane," the rest of her career is shit.
- It's no wonder The Star isn't better known.
- I must confess a fondness for DEAD RINGERS, and Miss Davis actually had some nice, underplayed moments in HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE, to contrast with her campiness.
- She was a cocksucking cunt who had TERRIBLE manners.
There's no excuse for not saying a pleasant "hello" when one arrives on the set.
- Bette was married to Gary Merrill and the two of them spent the 1950s drunk on their asses at their house in Maine.
- [quote]What parts could she have played that she didn't?
Uncle Charlie on "My Three Sons."
- R6 made me spit Coca-cola all over on my computer monitor.
- R5 nails it.
- I thought Bette was fun in Dead Ringer, Baby Jane and Sweet Charlotte. And don't forget The Whales of August!
- Bette was horrible in Pocketful of Miracles. By then Baby Jane was typecasting.
- I liked her in The Nanny and Harvest Home.
- r6: LOL!
- From the plot, everyone assumes The Star must be a classic, or at least a camp classic, until you actually see what a cheap, boring piece of shit it is.
Old actresses weren't allowed to continue being stars in those days, Star must've been the best they were offering her. All About Eve was an anomaly, similar to Joan having one last hurrah with Mildred Pierce.
- Please pay attention.
ALL ABOUT EVE was 1950. BABY JANE was '62, and DEAD RINGERS after that.
The question is, what happened to Dzvis's career in '51 and '52 and '53.
Well, she married Merrill, yes, and they got drunk and abused each other. Also, she finally had kids. BD was like 3 in 1951, and she & Merrill adopted 2 kids, one of whom turned out to be autistic. By all accounts, Dzvis was an obsessively present mom, thougm not necessarily a good one.
And she got middle-Ged looking.
And she made bad choices - she turned down
THE AFRICAN QUEEN, for instance. And COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA, in which she would have been awful, by the way.
But hardly any women of her era had luck in the '50s. Crawford was turning into an angry freak, Stanwyck was doing whatever westerns came her way, Garson was off the radar. . . Susan Hayward was having her moment, but she was a movie-star-generation younger than the rest of them.
Of the women who'd started as early as David, really only Hepburn had a good decade in the '50s. And that's partly because Hepburn turned herself into a perpetual virgin, mostly, and didn't quite have to deal with being turned into a dumpy mom.
- Feed the birds and what do you get? Fat...BIRDS!
- Well, I think The Star is good, camp fun. Going, going, gone.
- R13, Milred Pierce was far from Joan's last hurrah. I guess you forget "Humoresque" and "Possessed" which were both well received and I she was Oscar nominated for "P"
- Yeah, R16, but it's a shit film, fun or not, and the question was, how come Davis came down off the career high of EVE and went back to making shit films. Her '50s films on the whole are catastrophically bad.
- DOES NO ONE REMEMBER WATCHER IN THE WOODS???
- None of you are up to this conversation.
- Yes I saw it in the theater r19, hated it. It was shelved for a few years before released, for good reason.
- R20=M. A. R. Y.
- R22 = cliched homosexual.
- Excuse me r23, but you're the one who thinks every gay person should be obsessed with Bette Davis' career, talk about "cliched homosexual." There's nothing wrong with being a trivia buff about Bette, your post was very informative, but then you had to start acting like an asshole.
- [quote]None of you are up to this conversation.
Just curious. What, exactly, makes this so informative?
- Trolldar him r25, r14 is a good post.
- Oh, come on, that scene of her drunk driving around talking to her Oscar wedged into the dash is hilarious. "Wondah where I yam!"
- Bette's death scene in "Burnt Offerings" is belly laugh inducing.
- Miss Davis didn't have the talent. She was very lucky that dear Claudette broke her back and dropped out of ALL ABOUT EVE (though I'll always believe she greased Claudette's skis) and even luckier that my darling Joe wrote and directed. Of course, I passed on it.
- Most ironic line in "The Star" . . . when daughter Natalie Wood is running along the slippery deck of Sterling Hayden's boat and Bette shouts out, "Gretchen, be careful! If you should ever fall over!".
- OP you got it all wrong from the beginning.
By the way she was incredible in 'The Star'
- The I950s and 1960s were in general not a particularly good time for non-sex bombs in Hollywood.
- R32, that's unheard-of. You creep me and my fans out.
- BD was really good in A Catered Affair. I will never understand people who say Joan Crawford was any good. She overacted in everything.
- Bette was washed up in 1949 (as she was in 1959 when she only had 2 cameos: a scene or 2 with Alec Guinness in the little-seen The Scapegoat, which Gore Vidal scripted from De Maurier, at MGM, and she sashayed on as Catherine The Great for the last 5 minutes of the boring costumer John Paul Jones over at Warner. In '49 she was all wrong in the dreadful - but enjoyably camp now - Beyond The Forest, which was her last at Warners.
She only got Eve as a result of Claudette's accident - presumably thats why Baxter was cast as Eve, as she would have resembled Claudette ... but Bette's films before and after were dreadful, she is very middle aged and in a small part in Phone Call From A Stranger in '52, which I finally saw recently, and her mannerisms had really set in by then. The Star is enjoyable trash - was it really based on Crawford? She had got middle aged rather quickly, as in Storm Centre, and The Virgin Queen (where she is not really the star).
Crawford was the same, she had a cameo too in 1959 in The Best of Everything, but her 50s films are better and more fun than Bettes, as Joan was frankly more glamorous and films like Female on the Beach, Johnny Guitar, Sudden Fear, Queen Bee, Autumn Leaves, Torch Song, Harriet Craig are all camp classics now.
Stanwyck went went in lots of westerns, some are good like The Furies; and Hepburn indeed became the eternal spinster - Summertime, Rain Maker etc - but she never had to take parts for money and wisely stayed off screen after Suddenly Last Summer in 1959 until Guess Whoo .. in 1967 and she was suddenly famous all over again, getting another (deserved this time) oscar next year for Lion in Winter. (Yes I know she also did Long Days Journey Into Night in 1962 for Lumet, but it was an arty little seen film then - I have only been able to see it now its out on dvd).
- Bette had the last laugh though, as Bette's 60s films were better than Joans, after their Baby Jane hit. I like Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (which Joan left), and Dead Ringers is a scream - my best friend and I used to quote the two Bette's in it (Poor. Father. A. Wino., and "But You havent seen my cast-offs"). Where Love Has Gone may be trash but its A-list trash, and her British ones The Nanny and the Anniversary are well made and cast. By this time Joan's were getting worse and worse: Straitjacket, Berserk, I Saw What You Did, Trog etc. By the time Joan died in 1977 Bette was back with the A-listers in Death On The Nile, and like Hepburn, was being revered all over again ...
- BD was over-the-hill actress who played an over-the-hill actress in ALL ABOUT EVE. It became typecasting. She made THE STAR, still about acting and eventually BABY JANE, which was about a washed up child actress. See the pattern. Her few film roles in between were embarrassing (POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES) to ok (CATERED AFFAIR, playing a unglamorous housewife). In the 1950s Bette was perceived to be over-the-hill. Not too complicated.
- Thats why Judy Holliday got the Oscar in 1950, as Bette and Swanson were seen as over the hill older stars - they were not revered then as they are now and their films EVE and SUNSET BOULEVARD were not seen as the classics they became.
- OP here. I was really surprised by the all-around ineptitude of The Star. It was made by All About Eve's 20th Century Fox, seemingly as a sort of follow-up, but had none of the class of Eve. Even the musical scoring by Victor Young and Bette's costuming by Orry-Kelly were sub-par.
I've never heard of the director or producer, can't remember their names now but they almost sounded like aliases for men who didn't want their names on the picture.
The supporting cast is wretched and embarrassing. Natalie got a bit better as the film progressed, she was actually rather natural and refreshing...this was, of course, just a few years before Rebel.
Sterling Hayden seemed to be cast because he was kind of in the Gary Merrill mold, outdoorsy, tweedy and macho, unglamorous. Actually he was way hotter than Merrill but was entirely unbelievable as a man who would come to Bette's character's rescue and stick with her after all of her neuroses. Physically, he and Bette look ridiculous as a couple.
Strange thing was in the screen test that Bette's character is forced to do, when she rebelliously reconfigures her costume, hair and makeup and actually finally looks almost as good as Margo Channing there. So Bette could have looked more youthful throughout the whole film. I guess she or the studio felt she had to look frumpy for the role, which was a big mistake.
And that happy ending....oh, my!!
- Stanwyck also worked twice for Douglas Sirk in the 1950s. She's really at the top of her game in "All I Desire." Davis--at least after AAE--mostly fell back on her mannerisms. She wasn't working at the level she had achieved during her Warner Brothers glory days.
Mankiewicz's initial choice for Margo Channing after Colbert's accident was Gertrude Lawrence, not Davis.
- The rarely aired film "Payment on Demand", shot right before "All About Eve", contains an excellent Davis performance . . . as does "The Old Maid".
- AAE was great, of course, because of the performances, but if you don't have the writing you're not going to have a great, memorable movie.
They could re-make that movie today -- minus all the smoking -- and I bet it would do well.
- She played in many good movies after 'All About Eve'. There are too many to write, i won't even bother with that.
- I love Bette Davis, you all are bitches!
If you really want a fun version of Bette's affectation watch "The Anniversary" she and the story is an absolute train wreck laff riot.
- Bette with her beloved daughter...
- Bette wanted B.D.Hyman only for herself according to B.D.Hyman. There was no room for others.
- Bette loved to be praised. She couldn't imagine that there are people who are not impressed by her.
- Body odor offends me.
- Bette was ok in The Catered Affair but I can only imagine how far superior Thelma Ritter must have been in the original TV production. Of course, in that one, the family is Jewish not Irish. But Thelma would have been convincing either way.
Or imagine how much better Shirley Booth would have played that role.
- Lol R48
Despite all her negatives, Bette's need to be liked and adored was sweet, don't you think?
- It seems like Jane Wyman inherited many of the best roles in the early 1950s that Joan and Bette might have played, and she was no spring chicken herself by then.
- Lol Lana T, 'she was no spring chicken herself...'
Bette with James Stewart
- More on the Anniversary
- With Olivia De Havilland
I read that they were friends...
So it seems that it was more easier for Olivia to befriend notorious Bette than her younger sister Joan Fontaine
- She was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT as Aunt Elizabeth in the now classic horror film BURNT OFFERINGS!
- Good ole Bette
- Guys, Guys, Guys...let's be honest...
Bette was brilliant in everything she played, from masterpieces to camp movies.
- With Robert Wagner
Wagner in his autobiography wrote about his friendship with Bette and somewhere he also writes that he thought that Bette had a soft spot for him.
- Oh yeah
- Just one more...
- She could have done some of Kate Hepburn's later - Long Day's Journey, Summertime, Lion, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - successes but they were much better suited to Kate Hepburn.
But she had a few successes (some of them minor and or camp ones) of her own, very different ones. The Whales of August, Hush, Hush, Baby Jane, Death on the Nile.
- Good article by the director of BD's last film.
- I may shock you now, but i found a photo of Bette Davis with...Barbara Stanwyck!
- She should have married a producer
- This thread inspired me to skim through the (excellent) Davis bio "Dark Victory" that came out a few years ago. After 'The Star' Bette did a review on Broadway called 'Two's Company' that looked like a camp riot from the production photos. Anyway, during the run of the show Bette was diagnosed with osteomyelitis of the jawbone, and had to drop out. She retreated to her house in Maine and apparently it took two years for her to fully recover from the illness. She was already middle-aged and when she was ready to work again after being away from Hollywood for two years she had difficulty finding work.
Not to mention the fact that Bette aged rather quickly from all the drinking and smoking. She really looked haggard in her movies from the latter half of the 50s. In those days plastic surgery wasn't as advanced as it is now and cosmetic dermatology was nonexistent, so you were pretty much stuck with your natural face and as you aged there wasn't much that could be done.
I was the one who wrote upthread that Bette and Gary Merrill spent the 50s drunk in Maine, and according to all the bio material I've read it's really true. They drank like fish and fought constantly, and that really takes a toll on your looks and body.
- Bette... and Joan.
- I'm not so sure I agree with r66's comment about plastic surgery being less advanced in the 1950s.
If you look at photos of Irene Dunne, Loretta Young, Greer Garson, Barbara Stanwyck and even Joan Crawford (women who had all had some nips/tucks by then), they all look much better than Bette did...and they also look infinitely better than most middle-aged stars today who have gone under the knife.
On the contrary, I think procedures in those days were done with far greater care and finesse.
- R68 is correct, by the 1950's, plastic surgery was quite advanced. It was stars who had it in the 1930's who had less than great results (like Mary Pickford).
- Don't forget Bette made some great TV movies most memorable White Mama and one she did with Gena Rowlands she won an Rmmy for. Wish they were on DVD...
- Was Bette good in Harvest Home....or campy bad? I've never seen that one.
- R71 It was camp. Delicious camp, but camp. It was two parts Margo Channing, one part Katherine Hepburn, and one part Endora.
- She deserved a Supporting Actress Oscar for Death on the Nile. It was supposed to be an Ingrid Bergman/Orient Express-like role, but for some reason it didn't happen.
- Bette was upstaged by both Angela Lansbury and Maggie Smith in Death on the Nile. There was no way she going to get an Oscar for that one.
Maybe they all just canceled each other out? I don't think any of them got a nomination, let alone the Oscar.
little brown babies...
- Bette Davis 1935
- Once upon a time...
- ...there was a young woman called Bette
- According to Bette, her greatest love was the director William Wyler.
- No one remembers her star turn as "Constant Doyle" on "Perry Mason"?
- Bette and her mother. She was very close to her, as strange as it may seem to some of you!
- ‘I have been uncompromising, infractable, monomaniacal, tactless, volatile and offtimes disagreeable. I suppose I’m larger than life’ Bette Davis once remarked about her tough-as-nails personality. Today, she continues to personify the independent and strong-willed woman, an image she helped define both on-screen and off, with a career that spanned six decades and an impressive range of memorable roles.
- Didn't she receive an Oscar nomination for The Star?
- I know this is sounds like a joke because of the running "Lucy was offered the lead in (fill in the blank" posts, but THE STAR was originally written for Lucille Ball. It was an independent film and the producer couldn't get the financing. It was was shelved for about a year and recast with Bette. By that time Ball was riding high on her I LOVE LUCY fame.
- Didn't she receive an Oscar nomination for THe Star?
No. And frankly I'm shocked she wasn't drummed out of The Academy for it!
- Bette received her ninth Oscar nomination for THE STAR. Joan was nominated that year for SUDDEN FEAR. Shirley Booth was the winner.
- Jeeez....was anybody under 50 nominated that year?
- Julie Harris was 27 and Susan Hayward was 35...
R86 one day YOU will be 50, dear...
- [quote]"The weak are the most treacherous of us all. They come to the strong and drain them. They are bottomless. They are insatiable.
Bette Davis, on insatiable bottoms, from her autobiography, "The Lonely Life".
- Bette with Henry Fonda
- Bette with her greatest love of all William Wyler
- Bette with William Wyler and Henry Fonda
- With Wyler again
- Henry Fonda wasn't really a major star until the 1950s (except fore The Grapes of Wrath). Before that he always seemed to be just extra male support for leading ladies like Davis and Stanwyck or Tyrone Power.
- Twentieth Century-Fox screwed Bette out of one of a potentially classic role.
After the publication of Valley of the Dolls, Davis became friends with the author. There were even pictures in Life magazine of Davis and Jacqueline Susann wading in the surf in Malibu.
Davis wanted to play Helen Lawson and Susann agreed she'd be perfect. She fought for Bette but TCF went for the disastrous stunt casting of Judy Garland. Worse yet, the part was eventually played by Susan Hayward, Bette's bitter enemy from Where Love Has Gone.
- An intimate photo of Bette
- Bette Davis eyes...
- That must hurt!
- Old Bette looks great in the pic at r95.
- Yes she does R98
- It's undeniable that Bette definitely had her charm
- Bette Davis laughs her ass off
- Now that's a cute photo, r101!
- What you can't see, r102, is that Gary is fingering her under her fur coat.
- Bette in a merrier moment...
- Jesus, how many cigarettes did Bette Davis smoke in the course of a day? She almost always has a cig in her hand in candid photos. It's amazing that she lived as long as she did.
- Bette was a heavy smoker. She thought that smoking was a part of her character and of her public image.
- Bette Davis Training For Role in "Buny O'hare"
- Caption: Bette Davis Orlando/Globe Photos,inc. Bettedavisretro
- Bette is shining next to her beloved (then) daughter. She looks happy with her.
- Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope & Bette Davis at the Hollywood Hall of Honor in 1942.
- Bette Davis with Howard Hughes
- Funny pic r107. I recognize the cig pack in Bette's had as the old-timey unfiltered Philip Morris, which hasn't been made in years and years. Philip Morris non-filter cigs were stronger than shit.
I used to smoke eons ago
- R113 it's very hopeful that you managed to quit smoking.
Wait a minute did you?
- Bette is posing for 'Now Voyager'
What a great movie, really.
- Towards the end of her life she claimed she didn't inhale...
- Don't fuck with me fellas!
Joan, Queen of Pepsi-Cola
- I like all the pics of ancient Bette in her sassy outfits.
- Bette kept the mink coat she wore as Margo Channing for the rest of her life.
- Lol R117!
Nice photos you sent guys, and omg R119 that photo is...stronger than words. Hehe
- Bette with Shirley Temple
- Baby Jane
- Judging by Shirley's apearance, that photo of her with Bette Davis must be from the mid-1930s but Bette looks like she's 50 in it!
- She was great in the late 70's horror film, "Burnt Offerings".
- Why do we get these perennial WEHT questions about actresses of a certain age? You all know damn good and well that the simple reason they fall off the map is because they GOT OLD. No one wants middle aged women. They're put out to pasture in Hollywood, dumped by philandering husbands, scorned in the working world. Heck, they were even burned at the stake in centuries past. Middle aged women are society's rejects. It has always been this way and always will be. Fact of life.
- R125 Oh, horseshit! It has nothing to do with being a woman. Men get old too and shittier parts as they get older as well.
Actors and actresses can still have success when they're older if their egos will allow them accept good supporting roles rather than still expecting to be a lead all the time.
- Exactly, R126. There are plenty of roles for older women but most Hollywood actresses won't accept that they can't be eternally 20.
Sidenote: has anyone seen both "Elizabeth and Essex" and "The Virgin Queen" and preferred the latter.
- r126, that's bullshit about aging. You think stars like Nicholson, Streep, Keaton, Cruise, Cage, Connery, and even recently (returning to movies after his governorship) Schwarzenegger, and others haven't trodded onward WAY into middle and even old age with active careers? And with star parts? Hey, Linda Evans and Joan Collins were the "IT" girls from the Dynasty days and Joan was in her fifties by then. Old Hollywood was a very different time. People did not live as long. People did not age as well. The zeitgeist of the whole "50 is the new 30" attitude, although eye-rolling, has sort of taken over the way people think about aging in today's world. As long as a star doesn't get BAD plastic surgery (which completely derailed Meg Ryan's career), he or she can still get starring roles. We are still a youth-obsessed culture, for sure, but it's not like the old days when stars were relegated to playing grannies and next door neighbors. People age much better, overall.
- [quote]Men get old too and shittier parts as they get older as well.
You don't say!
- Gentlemen behave!
- Bette got into it with co-star Olivia Hussey on "Death on the Nile". Apparently Olivia started every morning with her Eastern meditations which included loud temple music which disturbed Bette's sleep. Bette asked her nicely to turn it down and Olivia got pissed and wouldn't speak to her again. And who the hell remembers Olivia Hussey now?
- Don't know if this was posted upthread. Great footage of AAE opening night at Grauman's.
And Joan is there!
- Wow, r132, that is indeed fabulous footage! Thanks for posting. Practically everyone in Golden Age Hollywood ever discussed on DL is there.
Interesting how George Sanders is described with his date Saree Gayber.
Glenn Ford was just gorgeous!
- Yes great footage. Thanks for posting.
- Whoa! AWESOME footage. Joan was there, yeah..omg!
- With Bette Davis and with Joan Crawford we're also talking an earlier era when actresses were seen as relics earlier. Meryl Streep has options now that BD and JC would have enjoyed in their day. Much of the sixties they were looking for bright young things to make money with.
And there was bad luck,e.g. Edward Albee wanted Bette Davis and James Mason for George and Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf but the Burtons were there even though Liz was 20 years too young for the role.
- Katharine Hepburn managed to have a an illustrious Hollywood career after 50:
1957: Best Actress, nomination, for The Rainmaker
1960: Best Actress, nomination, for Suddenly, Last Summer
1963: Best Actress, nomination, for Long Day's Journey into Night
1968: Best Actress, win, for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
1969: Best Actress, win, for The Lion in Winter (shared with Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl)
1982: Best Actress, win, for On Golden Pond
As well as prestigious television work.
Hepburn took care of herself, dressed in a way that was contemporary but individualistic. She just never looked ridiculous. And never became camp. She also embraced aspects of the late 60's counter-culture and as a result, was not seen as a relic from another era.
By the 1960's, Davis and Crawford were parodies of themselves. But Hepburn sailed on as if she was part of what was happening.
- The same might be said for Barbara Stanwyck. She never was ssen as batty or desperate for work and while not still making high quality films in the 1960s-80s, she had steady work starring and anchoring in a hit TV series The Big Valley and also starring 20 years later in the mini-series The Thorn Birds. She chose from her few offers wisely.
- Hepburn also had money. Davis and Crawford had bad luck/experience with money. So Hepburn had the leisure to do what she wanted and, as R137 said, made some good choices (mixed in with some bad ones as well: Madwoman of chaillot, Trojan Women, some cheezy tv movies). She also went back to the stage as well. They were "vehicles" mostly but it was work and kept her in shape in terms of her craft.
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Hide Actress (122 titles)
1989 Wicked Stepmother
1987 The Whales of August
1986 As Summers Die (TV movie)
1985 Murder with Mirrors (TV movie)
Carrie Louise Serrocold
1983 Right of Way (TV movie)
1983 Hotel (TV series)
– Hotel (1983) … Laura Trent
1982 Little Gloria... Happy at Last (TV movie)
Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt (as Betty Davis)
1982 A Piano for Mrs. Cimino (TV movie)
Esther McDonald Cimino
1981 Family Reunion (TV movie)
1980 Skyward (TV movie)
1980 The Watcher in the Woods
1980 White Mama (TV movie)
1979 Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter (TV movie)
1978 The Children of Sanchez
1978 Death on the Nile
Mrs. Van Schuyler
1978 Return from Witch Mountain
1978 The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (TV mini-series)
1977 Laugh-In (TV series)
– Episode dated 5 November 1977 (1977) … Guest star
1976 The Disappearance of Aimee (TV movie)
1976 Burnt Offerings
1974 Hello Mother, Goodbye! (TV movie)
1973 Scream, Pretty Peggy (TV movie)
1972 The Judge and Jake Wyler (TV movie)
1972 Lo scopone scientifico
1972 Madame Sin
1971 Bunny O'Hare
1970 Connecting Rooms
1970 It Takes a Thief (TV series)
– Touch of Magic (1970) … Bessie Grindel
1968 The Anniversary
1966 Gunsmoke (TV series)
– The Jailer (1966) … Etta Stone (as Miss Bette Davis)
1965 The Nanny
1964 Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte
1964 Where Love Has Gone
Mrs. Gerald Hayden
1964 Dead Ringer
Margaret DeLorca/Edith Phillips
1963 The Empty Canvas
1963 Perry Mason (TV series)
– The Case of Constant Doyle (1963) … Constant Doyle
1962 The Virginian (TV series)
– The Accomplice (1962) … Celia Miller
1962 What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Baby Jane Hudson
1959-1961 Wagon Train (TV series)
Bettina May / Ella Lindstrom / Madame Elizabeth McQueeny
– The Bettina May Story (1961) … Bettina May
– The Elizabeth McQueeny Story (1959) … Madame Elizabeth McQueeny
– The Ella Lindstrom Story (1959) … Ella Lindstrom
1961 Pocketful of Miracles
1959 The DuPont Show with June Allyson (TV series)
– Dark Morning (1959) … Sarah Whitney
1959 The Scapegoat
1959 John Paul Jones
Empress Catherine the Great
1959 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV series)
– Out There - Darkness (1959) … Miss Fox
1958 Suspicion (TV series)
Mrs. Wilfred Ellis
– Fraction of a Second (1958) … Mrs. Wilfred Ellis
1957-1958 G.E. True Theater (TV series)
Christine Marlowe / Miss Burrows
– The Cold Touch (1958) … Christine Marlowe
– With Malice Toward One (1957) … Miss Burrows
1958 Studio 57 (TV series)
– The Starmaker (1958)
1957 Telephone Time (TV series)
– Stranded (1957) … Beatrice Enter
1957 The Ford Television Theatre (TV series)
– Footnote on a Doll (1957) … Dolley Madison
1957 Schlitz Playhouse (TV series)
– For Better, for Worse (1957) … Irene Wagner
1956 Storm Center
1956 The Catered Affair
Mrs. Agnes Hurley
1956 The 20th Century-Fox Hour (TV series)
– Crack-Up (1956) … Marie Hoke
1955 The Virgin Queen
Queen Elizabeth I
1952 The Star
1952 All Star Revue (TV series)
– Episode #2.33 (1952) … Guest Actress
1952 Phone Call from a Stranger
1951 Another Man's Poison
1951 Payment on Demand
Joyce Ramsey (nee Jackson)
1950 All About Eve
- Bette Davis and James Mason would have been incredible as Martha and George in "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf." A foul-mouthed, alcoholic, chain-smoking, middle-aged harpie with a mean streak was a role Davis was born to play, and I mean that respectfully. It's a shame it never came to be.
- James Mason??? LOL.
- R137, you weren't around then, correct? Hepburn didn't become a clown, and she worked, but she was not viewed as contemporary in the 1960s-70s. She was looked on as a mannered old time star and camp, yes.
- Katharine Hepburn wasn't camp? In what universe? And she didn't "take care of herself," either. She drank and smoked just as much as other stars from her era.
- Most people knew the old stars from their very old movies that ran all night and on the 4:30 movie (in NYC) every day. They were not up to date on old stars current stage roles or movie parts. Hepburn was even portrayed all campy in old cartoons that were shown over and over in the 1960s. That's where I first heard of her.
- I also adored Joan in Straight jacket where she acted admirably despite the schockly writing. Always a pro.
- Joan Crawford was also very, very good in "Sudden Fear"
- Bette Davis had wonderful roles in numerous movies in the 1930's and part of 1940's. Too many for me to list!
- Hepburn had mannerisms that were easy to imitate... as did many stars from the Golden Age... but a camp icon? No. But then again, we may have differing ideas about who is camp. For instance: Lucille Ball for me is not camp. Stanwyck is not camp. Crawford yes, Davis yes.
Crawford or Davis would not have been even remotely considered for a "quality" mainstream film like "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" in 1967.
No matter what you may think of it or Hepburn's performance, the film was a sensation at the time and it was considered a cultural milestone. The topic was up-to-the-minute-relevant.
And so was Hepburn.
The very next year she won best actress... tied with one of the hottest stars of the time. And her leading man was Peter O'Toole, a major star.
Coco (1969 ) the reviews were not good... but it sold-out every performance Hepburn played in. And she wasn't on B'way doing a revival of something... it was original... Alan Jay Lerner and Andre Previn. Even the character, Chanel was considered "modern".
And yes she did some clunkers on TV... but they always had an aura of "prestige". You would never have seen Davis or Crawford paired with Olivier.
And "Glass Menagerie" was a huge hit. The Cavett interviews were an event.
Rather than campy, in the 1960s and into the 1970's Hepburn was seen as eccentric, an old lady sure but also modern... and even a bit avant-garde: the men's clothes, the tousled hair, she was outspoken about abortion, she was vocal about her atheism, never had children etc. In that period from 1967 to 1973... Hepburn had a certain hipness.
- And I want to add: Hepburn did not do things like hosting The Hollywood Palace or appearing on Merv Griffin.
- Bette had rebounded by acting in some quality made for television movies. The Dunaway movie, STRANGERS with Gena Rowlands, RIGHT OF WAY with Jimmy Stewart, a Miss Marple with Helen Hayes. She was even going to be on HOTEL before she was hospitalized. The problem was that she was paying out the nose to support BD. Hence the need to take whatever came along at times. And then she came back from the stroke to become this personality who would go on talk shows completely overdressed and tell the same stories over and over.
But it's unfair to completely write off the last two decades of Davis career. There were a few gems in there.
- And I find Bette's interview with Cavett to be one of the best celebrity interviews ever done. She's insightful, witty and completely down to earth. Her brutally honest, no BS take on the business was wonderful to watch.
- "Hepburn did not do things like hosting The Hollywood Palace or appearing on Merv Griffin."
No, but she did a several very pretentious appearances on the Dick Cavett Show, playing the Hepburn character. I recently saw them again. BROTHER!!!
- R140, a link would have sufficed.
That being said 95% of what is there is crap.
The Schlitz Playhouse? Please.
The very few decent film projects were heavily fought over by Ginger Rogers, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck (and STILL the era's best parts always ended up with the hugely-over-rated Rosalind Russell.)
Some married well and got to pick and choose when they wanted to work, such as Gene Tierney and Jennifer Jones, both post-mental issues or Olivia de Havilland and Greer Garson.
Ida Lupino moved into television and directing.
Loretta Young was of course a huge tv star.
Interestingly, other than Garbo, I believe the only other female golden age star who left a fortune was Paulette Goddard.
- I totally agree with the poster(s) who said Hepburn was considered eccentrically hip in the late 60s/early 70s. I was in college then and well remember her comeback films from those times always being must-see events.
Even the flops like The Trojan Women and Madwoman of Chaillot were regarded as prestige projects with all-star casts.
I think part of her allure was her mystery. Until she did the Cavett interview, she was rarely (if ever?) seen on TV as herself and it was a good many years after that interview before she appeared again.
- R154 I believe Mae West also invested wisely and was worth a fortune at the time of her death.
And perhaps Gloria Swanson?
- I watched Bette's Dick Cavett interview on Youtube and she was absolutely brilliant. What a sharp woman, and her insights into the business side of Hollywood were very informative. She was a real star in the truest sense of the word.
- It must be said: Dick Cavett really knew how to get the best out of his interviewees.
- R156, I think Swanson's boyfriend Joe Kennedy ripped her off. I don't know if she was able to rebuild much after that.
- R155 - that was not the thinking of the general public. Perhaps a part of the gay male & female public, but not the public at large.
- Hepburn was on Phil D. He asked for an autograph and she didn't know what his name was...
- Really it's the same situation now for older actresses as it was back then, one actress gets chosen as "the living legend" (Streep/Hepburn) and her peers fight for the scraps. Apparantly Glenn Close's only two projects in the hopper post Albert Nobbs are a remake of Angela Lansbury's "Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris" and the titular role in the Susan Boyle biopic.
- Bette had to work because she needed money whereas Katharine didn't. If Bette was able to pick and choose her roles perhaps she would have had a better filmography in her later years.
- R163 nailed it.
- Bette did some sub-par work for a star of her stature in her later years because she had a daughter and son-in-law who didn't like to work but also liked to live in high style. Bette supported them very generously for many years until she had her illnesses and BD wrote that book. It's said BD primarily wrote that nasty book because she thought Bette was going to die and BD had no other way to make money.
- But the original question....after the huge comeback of All About Eve, why wasn't Bette offered any decent roles?
- That's a very common show business story, r165.
- OMG. I was at my mother's today, flipping around DirecTV, and on some obscure religious channel, there was Bette's daughter,who has her own show!
Called, what else? B.D. Hyman. It was her reading the Bible.
- Bette Davis works in her dressing room between scenes of The Corn is Green
She always had that cigarette in her hand. Lol
- Bette Davis consults the script of 'The Letter'
No cigar in her hand this time, but i think there's a packet of cigarettes on her table...
- Since this thread has bumped up...
Perhaps getting older and going freelance meant there wasn't a steady stream of leading roles being offered to her.
- But NOT ONE DECENT LEADING ROLE after All About Eve until WEHT Baby Jane?? I just don't get it.
And I believe that dressing room shot of Bette at r170 was taken during 1940's All This and Heaven, Too, judging by her hairstyle and costume.
- Her output seemed to slow in the 50s. I wonder what her finances were like then. Was she turning down roles because she could or was she not getting them.
She did have The Virgin Queen and A Catered Affair.
- Bette fell down a flight of stairs at one point in the 50's - it derailed her career for a long time. I don't think this was just after AAE, but a few years later.
Face it, she was known to be difficult to work with. That sums it up. She was wonderfully over the top in most everything she played. She's still my all time favorite actress though. 'That's why they call it acting!' she said to one critic. She's right on. These duds today should camp it up.
- By the 1950s she was also "of a certain age", which meant decent roles were few and far between.
- [quote]Bette was horrible in Pocketful of Miracles
I Loved "Pocketful of Miracles" and Bette was wonderful. It was nominated for three Oscars including the hilarious Peter Falk for Supporting, introduced Ann-Margret and I thought Bette was perfect. Would have loved to see Angela Lansbury in a musical version.
- It's a shame her comeback in the late-'70s didn't work out. Bette Davis was originally the first choice to play the co-lead in Saturday Night Fever (the part that ended up going to Karen Gorney). She would've been SMASHING in the dance sequences. Davis was also slated to play the lead in "The Rose", but Bette Midler STOLE the part right out from under her. Likewise, Bo Derek stole her part in "10". I would have killed to have seen her in that bathing suit and cornrows. Bette was offered the part of Lt. Ilia in "Star Trek-The Motion Picture" but she didn't want to shave her head. Alas, she ended up making "The Watcher in the Woods" instead. What could have been.
Just Fuckin' With Ya
- R160, I'm about the same age as R155 & everyone I knew in the late '60s-early '70s viewed K. Hepburn the way R155 describes.
Granted, I lived in the San Francisco Bay area, where most young people were stoned all day, but my circle included lots of what were called at the time "straight people" (i.e., no dope) of all ages, hetero & gay -- I don't recall anyone who didn't consider her eccentric but admirable for being independent & honest. In a word: cool.
- Bette Davis is geek-chic!
- Bette getting stuck in a cactus patch
- Bette Davis’ dog, Tibby, is quite a diva
- Bette with Gary Cooper
- Young Bette with a friend of hers
- Bette with...
- Bette Davis serving at the Hollywood Canteen
- Bette Davis & Greer Garson.
- Am I the only one who thinks Greer Garson was a beautiful woman? She looked so elegant.
- I watched "The Star" for the first time the other night, and I thought it was a good movie.
I also think her 70's movie "Burnt Sacrifices" was good too.
- R188, yes, actually 'The Star' is a good movie, i don't understand why some people dislike it. It's so moving the moment Miss Elliott (Bette Davis) views herself beyond the screen (in a test screen)and she says in agony and terrified 'Run it again, will you? And then after seeing again the way she played her part she is so touching in her despair and her disenchantment. 'Shut up! Shut up! You don't know anything!' Awesome scene. Bette played it very well.
- Anne Baxter, John Hodiak, Bette Davis and Pearl Bailey out in public
- r170, not only is that a pack of 'smokes' but it is a pack of unfiltered Camels. Perhaps the foulest, lousiest, smelliest cigs on the market.
They were a pack of toxic waste before that term was invented.
Ewww, ick, nast.
- R191, omg, then! So Bette's smoking habit was not only bad, but overly vicious at that point. Bette, Bette, Bette!
- THE STAR is being show on TCM tonight! Well, 3am PDT.
TCM has gone to a Hi-Def feed in the past year, and recently upgraded their audio as well.
- I'm sure Miss Davis would not have given a rat's ass about R191's opinion of her brand.
- What would you have expected Bette Davis to smoke, r191? Something low-tar?
- [quote]What would you have expected Bette Davis to smoke...?
Maybe bett-E Cigarettes?
- [quote]None of you are up to this conversation. Idiots.
That's a GREAT "Bette Davis as hateful cunt" impersonation!
But next time, try to be even drunker and more bitter. You've got the unlovable part down pat, though.
- r186 Miss Davis knitting? Was she waiting to be the next Miss Marple?
- Mainly, unlike Joan or Kate or Barbara Stanwyck, Bette didn't age well; EVE, ANOTHER MAN'S POISON and PAYMENT ON DEMAND wer probably the last films where she was leading-lady ready. I think the marriage to Merrill did play a part in that. She also was almost broke by the time that marriage dissolved.
- In 1965 Bette did a sitcom pilot called The Decorator. It was produced by Aaron Spelling but never aired. It's on Youtube at the link though. If that had aired, Bette could have had her own show for a few years at least but it sat on the shelf instead.