- 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.
- TCM posted "Dead Ringer" on ON DEMAND. The movie is so bad, it's good, and the cast is amazing.
- In that unsold "The Decorator" pilot, notice how they copied Margo's birthday party black dress for Bette to wear at the social, and they also put a Margo Channing-ish wig on her.
- "The Decorator" wasn't half-bad, and certainly a step above some of the utter shit that was on tv in 1965. I wonder why it wasn't picked up for a series.
- I would imagine that Bette Davis in 1965 would have been an utter horror to work with on the grind of a weekly TV series.
- Rather loved Dead Ringer. Well at least the house and shots of "old California up to their necks".
- Her delivery is so strange in a lot of her post-AAE work.
She. Spaces. The. Words.
Out. Like. This.
And. Seems. To. Speak. With. Great. Effort.
- Yes, I was surprised at how "half good" The Decorator was, actually. And Bette looked pretty good, too. The memory of Margo Channing was in full view.
- As the 1950's rolled on television was becoming a huge threat to Hollywood, and they had to respond by changing their offerings. Bette Davis along with a host of other actors/actresses had been around for what seemed like forever. That plus the material was changing to lure persons back into movie houses.
Bette Davis was simply like many female actresses since reaching/reached an age where roles that suited were becoming harder to find. No one was writing parts it seems for >50 year old women as stars.
If you look at this list a bulk of Bette's work after 1950 was on television. That medium is where she and many other of her peers made money as film work dried up. You watch old Alfred Hitchcock Presents or Twilight Zone episodes and you get a mix of stars on their way up (Robert Redford) and those on their way down (yes, Bette Davis).
- I'm amazed at how many Joan Crawford movies are actually available on DVD. It looks like ALL of them, with the exception of the lawsuit-plagued Letty Lynton and maybe some silents that didn't survive.
Because of the exquisite part of her career (which went A-List in 1928), the Bette Davis feud, the absurd 50's camp period, the scream queen movies, the sex stories, the Pepsi-Cola malarkey, "My Way of Life", unnatural innuendos, gigantic glasses of straight vodka, and the cataclysmic Mommie Dearest, it seems like every new generation's jaw hits the floor over Crawford, for better or worse.
I think Bette Davis is the only other actor of that era to acheive that level of historic permanence. Her brilliant and perpetual circus is ALWAYS in town. It's amazing so many of her projects are still in print and still get people talking.
She should have won an Oscar for the role of Bette Davis.
- Brilliant post r210!
- I would have loved to seen Bette Davis in valley of the dolls and her scenes with Patty Duke as Neely O'Hara
also I read that the Patty Duke show wanted to hire Bette Davis to play an aunt but she wanted too much money
- Those former movie stars who moved to TV may have been "over the hill" but they were a lot wiser and more realistic than the ones like Joan Crawford who refused to acknowledge the possibilities in the new hot medium. Which today certainly appears foolish.
- In another 20 years will any of the Golden Age stars be remembered besides:
Clark Gable (only because of GWTW)
maybe....Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart
- Well a few others...
that's it, probably.
- The role Bette played in THE STAR was based loosely on Joan Crawford, a fact that was known in Hollywood but not openly acknowledged. The script was written by a married couple, Dale Eunson and Katherine Albert, who were long-time close friends of Crawford's. Their daughter Joan was named for her and Crawford was the girl's godmother.
Joan learned of her friends' betrayal while the movie was in production. At the same time, the couple's 17-year-old daughter developed a mad infatuation with a car salesman seven years her senior. Eunson and Albert foolishly trusted Crawford when she offered to have a personal talk with their daughter at Crawford's lovely house in Brentwood. They expected her to counsel young Joan to wait and consider her career as an actress before rushing into marriage.
Instead, Crawford arranged a secret wedding for the teenager and her suitor that very night at her house. At midnight she called the writers and cheerfully informed them that their daughter had been married, that the press were present and the story would be in all the papers.
After reading about the wedding the next morning, Bette Davis advised the writers to pay a call on Crawford and scratch her eyes out.
- Jimmy Cagney will be remembered, if only for "White Heat."
- "I would have loved to seen Bette Davis in valley of the dolls and her scenes with Patty Duke as Neely O'Hara also I read that the Patty Duke show wanted to hire Bette Davis to play an aunt but she wanted too much money."
There was an episode with a highly opinionated and wealthy aunt who came to visit, she was played by Ilka Chase, Bette's "Now, Voyager" co-star.
- Bette was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for THE STAR, and critics were taken with the performance at the time.
Boze Hadleigh mentions the film in one of his books, and also says that Joan Crawford really DID audition for a role as a middle aged woman but acted all young and kittenish and lost the role. Anyone know what role that was for?
- Dead Ringer. Singular. No "s"
- [quote] The role Bette played in THE STAR was based loosely on Joan Crawford, a fact that was known in Hollywood but not openly acknowledged.
I beg your pardon? I would NEVAH work at May's Crenshaw.
I did, however, work the perfume counter at Black's Fifth Ave until I married Stephen Haines
- Stanwyck supposedly was in the running for Margo but turned it down because she didn't want portray a character who was having career issues (like she was at the time). Plus her marriage to Robert Taylor was falling apart. She was still hurt from losing the lead in "The Fountainhead" to the much younger Patricia Neal the year previous. The plot in AAE hit a little too close to home.
- I have seen the the PERRY MASON episode that she did. Raymond Burr had some health problems so a number PERRY MASONs had guest stars serving as PERRY MASON-lite
Davis played a recently widowed attorney who shared a business law/lobbying practice with her husband. When her husband died, all their client deserted her.
She as a wonder speech that must have rang true with women attorneys of the era. She said her clients must not have known that she knew the same people that her husband knew. She said that she had no interest in practicing family law or real estate law or wills and estates or even juvenile justice. Back in the early 1960s, most women attorneys were segregated in these areas of law.
If I remember correctly, Mrs. Doyle (Bette Davis) takes on a pro bono case of young man accused of murder. If I remember correctly, she and Della Street figure out that the killer is a woman, something that Paul Drake, Lt. Tragg and District Attorney Hamilton Burger didn't
I tried to watch the pilot for THE DECORATOR on YouTube. It is embarrassingly bad
- If Claudette Colbert had played Margo Channing in "All About Eve" as originally intended, I'm sure it would still have been a good movie, given Mankiewicz's script, but not the definitive Broadway themed iconic film that it has become over time.
- R223, I could not disagree more. I thought The Decorator was charming. It would have been expensive to do as each episode would require new sets.
- Anyone who thinks that Davis was horrible & affected in "The Star" obviously hasn't seen her in "Payment On Demand" & "Phone Call From A Stranger." She was HORRID in those! Frankly, I'm not sure how the cast & crew could stand the stench of her stinking up the set! "The Star" at least had some entertaining moments. Particularly the brilliant audition scene where she's scrubbing the floor.
Much is made out of the fact that Davis was a superior actress to Crawford because she had legitimate stage training & this is true. But no one ever mentions the fact that Crawford was a good actress in her own right. In her worst films (The Gorgeous Hussy, Ice Follies Of 1939, Torch Song, Trog, etc) Crawford was NEVER as bad as Davis at her worst! You could at least laugh at Crawford & find something entertaining in her bad movies. Davis on the other hand had a way of coming across as so smug, pretentious & "actressy" sometimes that you just wanted to slap the shit out of her.
The truth of the matter is that Davis only had a good 8 year run in films (1938-1946) with a few brilliant moments (Of Human Bondage, All About Eve & Baby Jane) before & afterwards. Crawford on the other hand consistently appeared in good movies that made money for FORTY YEARS. Even when she was reduced to low budget fare in the 1960's, the bitch still managed to entertain & recoup production costs!
- [quote]Crawford was NEVER as bad as Davis at her worst!
Says someone who has never seen MONTANA MOON.
- [quote] Says someone who has never seen MONTANA MOON.
This is true. I couldn't make it through "Montana Moon" because it was such a primitive "talkie". Unwatchable! I don't consider it a True Crawford film. I merely sweep it under the rug with "Laughing Sinners" & pretend it doesn't exist.
- I liked The Star and thought Davis gave a daring and truthful performance as a washed-up, middle-aged and desperate actress in Hollywood. She claimed she was doing Crawford, but the story was more like her own life as Joan was enjoying something of a career renaissance at the time.
The Star was ruined by the happy ending tacked on, and the unlikely romantic pairing with a relatively youthful Sterling Hayden. But it also ironically affirms the movie's point that great actresses over 40 had little chance to succeed in Hollywood at the time.
- It's not so much that Bette Davis in The Star gives a terrible performance, but rather that the film itself looks so cheap and artificial and is so lamely directed and badly written.
After the glory of All About Eve, I imagine Bette got a whiff of the amateurism on display during pre-production and just gave up and it shows in her half-hearted performance.
- Best line of dialogue from "The Star" is when Bette and daughter Natalie Wood are on Sterling Hayden's yacht and Natalie is running along the deck and Bette calls out, "Gretchen, be careful! If you should ever fall over!".
- R218 that is the role that I'm talking about. It was originally offered to Bette Davis but she wanted too much money
- My fave part of "The Star" is when Bette is selling lingerie to the two old bags. (39.95, isn't it lovely?)
- An amusing scene in The Star when Bette's character abruptly quits her sales girl job and runs down the department store escalator.
- "Come on, Oscar, let's you and me get drunk!".
- Bette and Olivia appeared together on "I've Got a Secret" to promote "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" and they were almost giddy that Agnes Moorehead had been Oscar nominated for her supporting performance in the film. Here's a clip of her losing the Oscar to Lila Kedrova, with Agnes wearing what appears to be a ten pound hairpiece on her head.
- R224 , I CRINGE every time I think about how Claudette Colbert came "this close" to playing Margo Channing. Can you image her sashaying about the cocktail party with those chipmunk cheeks & the same old poodle bangs she wore her whole life? The audience would have stood up & applauded Eve for stealing her fucking career & her man!
- Say what you will about Crawford, but she didn't suffer from any lack of well-paying acting jobs until the late 1950s.Although melodramatic, and some campy moments aside, there was a lot to enjoy as popular entertainment.
Remember, Joan once again BOUGHT OUT her Warner's contract- as she had done at MGM- to make the very entertaining "Sudden Fear" for Universal, for which she was Oscar nominated, the very same year as "The Star", 1952.
- She's hilarious in DEAD RINGER. I never appreciated it so much until I heard Charles Busch do the commentary where he points out many of the truly hilarious things in it (such as that everyone is constantly smoking in the film... even Mildred Natwick!).
- [quote]In her worst films (The Gorgeous Hussy, Ice Follies Of 1939, Torch Song, Trog, etc) Crawford was NEVER as bad as Davis at her worst!
I disagree. Crawford is awesomely bad in Berserk! and Torch Song.
And Crawford at her best (the second film she did called Possessed and Grand Hotel) is never anywhere near as good an actress as Davis at her best (All About Eve, Jezebel, The Letter, Juarez, Now Voyager).
- [quote] Say what you will about Crawford, but she didn't suffer from any lack of well-paying acting jobs until the late 1950s.
I couldn't agree more, R238. To add to that, Joan would have had an even better career in the 1950's & continued to appear in distinguished productions well into the 1960's if it weren't for 2 mistakes.
Mistake #1) She overplayed her hand in the "From Here To Eternity" negotiations & missed out on the role that eventually went to Deborah Kerr. The official press release was some nonsense about "Miss Crawford was dissatisfied with the costumes". This is false. The truth is that Joan wanted her role beefed up, but the producer Buddy Adler refused. A major blow for Joan! "Female On The Beach", "Queen Bee", "Autumn Leaves", etc are perfectly entertaining Camp Classics that made money. But if Crawford had gotten "FHTE" she would have been considered for prime spots in "A" productions for the rest of the decade.
Mistake #2) Joan let Bette drum her off of the set of "Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte" in 1964. I can't blame Joan, but I wish she could have found a way to tough it out. This was a fatal mistake that just about ended her movie career. After the "HHSW" fiasco Crawford was labeled an "unprofessional old drunk" & could no longer get insured for movie roles. She was only offered things like "Berserk" & "Trog" from then on. With that said, I get the impression that Joan actually was drinking so much at that time & so involved with her Pepsi chores that she didn't really give a shit anymore.
- R240 , you're actually agreeing with half of the statement I made. Joan was never as good as Bette at her best. We're on the on the same page there. That's not to say that Joan wasn't excellent on screen several times, because she was.
But I STRONGLY DISAGREE if you think that Crawford was ever as bad as Davis at her worst! Even the bulk of Crawford's junk (Berserk!, Torch Song, Female On The Beach) is entertaining & has camp value. Davis on the other hand was positively horrid in "Beyond The Forrest", "Payment On Demand", "Phone Call From A Stranger", "Mr. Skeffington", etc. Unwatcable. She was never so bad she was good; sometimes she was just bad! We'll agree to disagree. This is obviously a matter of personal tolerance & tastes.
- Wait a minute. Joan was almost 50 when FHTE was filmed. No way she would have been cast against a 40-year-old Burt Lancaster, especially with those swimsuit scenes. (Kerr was 32.)
- Joan was originally cast in Kerr's role, Babe. It's true. She was pushing 50 but was still a bankable star who looked damn good! Crawford's career would have been A LOT different if she had actually played it. Breaks my heart.....
- And wasn't the role in From Here to Eternity intended to be an older woman in contrast to Burt Lancaster's role?
Wasn't she an older woman in the novel?
I think that typically when Hollywood couldn't face casting an older actress in a mature starring role, they'd cast a younger British actress, thinking she'd have the same effect.
- Bette Davis being cast as Margo Channing is probably the greatest happy accident in film history. One of the most iconic performances ever, and she's absolutely perfect.
Joan Crawford, of course, was not as good of an actress as Bette but she was just so damn fun to watch onscreen. All of her 50s campfests are a riot, and you can't stop watching her. There's a reason why Crawford's career as a star lasted as long as it did.
- Unlike Stanwyck and Crawford, Bette got FAT in the 1950s.
- Now regarding FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, based on the eventual choice of Deborah Kerr, it is obvious the studio, and/or director Fred Zinnemann, ruled out Joan Crawford for the role. They REALLY wanted another Joan - Joan Fontaine, who would have been the right age and temperament for the film. One can see how they moved from Fontaine to Kerr, but not Crawford to Kerr.
Joan declined the role, and according to her autobiography she definitely realized she would have had a stronger career in the 1950's & beyond had she taken the role that went to Kerr.
- Oh and back to Bette Davis, she drank in the fifties.
- Bette aged pretty quickly in the 50s. She gained weight and became very middle-aged looking.
I think out of all the golden age broads, Katharine Hepburn and Stanwyck aged the best. In fact, Stanwyck became quite striking-looking in middle age with the big white hair, and she really kept her figure.
- R248 , obviously they REALLY wanted Joan C. at one point as well because she was actually cast. It wasn't a matter of her being ruled out because they didn't feel she was right. It was a matter of Joan shooting herself in the foot by insisting her part be beefed up & refusing to take second billing to Burt Lancaster. She regretted it later.
Joan Fontaine (who I adore) was in fact the original choice & would have played the role in a similar fashion to what Kerr did. I also read the bit in her autobiography "Bed Of Roses" where she regretted turning down the part. It's sad because most of Fontaine's post-1950 work is unmemorable.
As for Deborah Kerr.............personally, I've never cared for her & don't get her appeal at all. She reminds me of a cold plate of English Trout. Nothing appealing about her. An overrated Plain Jane.
- [quote] I think out of all the golden age broads, Katharine Hepburn and Stanwyck aged the best.
Hepburn looked like complete shit by the Late 1940's & never attempted "Glamour" again. She did hold on to her lovely figure for several years after that though.
- Are you blind r252? Hepburn looked fabulous in Adam's Rib, Pat and Mike, Summertime, The Rainmaker and Suddenly Last Summer, though obviously glammed down to appropriately suit each role.
Yes, she was no Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly, she was Hepburn and she was smart enough to look correct for each role. She wisely played roles suited to her age and looked the part.
- "Unlike Stanwyck and Crawford, Bette got FAT in the 1950s."
Bette and Gary Merrill were visited by Ed Murrow on "Person to Person" in 1957 and Bette looked quite matronly. Overweight, unflattering haircut, she looked more like Gary's mother-in-law on the show.
- Dead Ringer was on the other night, and Bette was hilarious. Twin sisters who sound exactly alike. Peter Lawford lusting after Bette ( her money as a rich widow) - it was fun.
Bette was a big deal in Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte and Baby Jane, after that she had no film career to speak of.
- Actually Davis did seminal work in the horror film, BURNT OFFERINGS, in the 70s and there was even talk of a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. The truly egregious oversight, however, was her performance in Whales of August. It was devastating, raw, career-capping work ignored by the Academy. Positively criminal.
- Stanwyck was a heavy smoker, which may have kept her thin but by the 60's she had chronic lung disease. By her 70's, she was on an oxygen tank.
- I watched From Here To Eternity the other night and kept trying to replace Kerr with Crawford and it just didn't work.
Kerr was very feminine and sexy in the role. Crawford always had a very masculine vibe emanating from her roles.
I had trouble with Lancaster rolling around in the surf with Crawford too. She would have wound up pinning him down on and laying on top of him in the scene.
Kerr was the correct choice even though I couldn't keep my eyes off of Lancaster.
- "Stanwyck was a heavy smoker, which may have kept her thin but by the 60's she had chronic lung disease. By her 70's, she was on an oxygen tank."
Stanwyck experienced some alarming incidents in her later years. Her house caught fire and there was a home invasion where she was pistol whipped, locked in a closet and robbed of her jewelry. Still, she won the Emmy for "The Thornbirds" over the heavily favored Ann-Margret.
- No doubt about it, Stanwyck was, by far, the most beloved of those Golden Age divas still working in Hollywood in the latter part of the 20th century.
Crawford, Davis, Hepburn, Colbert, Russell, am I forgetting anyone?.....even DeHavilland's rep was besmirched by her dear sister.....all had their detractors, but Stanwyck was adored by directors, co-stars, crew and the little people her entire life.
Did anyone not love her?
- It's a wonder Joan kept up her figure and was a middle-aged hottie considering how much she drank. It actually makes me question whether she was really an alcoholic. Maybe the reputation came from her being a notoriously mean drunk, not that she was always drunk.
- r261 Joan was most definitely an alcoholic. By the 1950s she was nipping at vodka all day. The first-person accounts of being around Joan while she was drinking are legion.
- Rita Hayworth was the first choice to play Karen in From Here to Eternity. She was under contract to Columbia and she had the sex appeal to play the part and was the right age to pull it off. But she turned down the role saying she wanted to take vacation after just filming Miss Sadie Thompson and she had also gotten involved with singer Dick Haymes, one of the worst men to come into her life and who would derail her career and keep her off screen for 4 years. Once Hayworth was out of the picture, Columbia offered the part to Crawford, and at the same time, looking at the long term, Columbia decided to find a replacement for Hayworth as their resident sex goddess/queen of the lot and they found Kim Novak.
- [quote]Did anyone not love her?
R260, Stanwyck did have her detractors, Maureen O'Sullivan being one of them because Barbara and John Farrow, Maureen's husband, had a falling out on the movie set of "California". Agnes Moorehead didn't either because of the aforementioned film version of "Sorry, Wrong Number". A few of Robert Taylor's friends didn't like her because they thought she was too controlling of Taylor. And she was not a good mother to her adopted son.
- R261, it's the food that makes you fat, not the alcohol. Joan drank 100 proof vodka. She also ate a liquid fruit juice diet to lose weight when she had to. She also exercised.
When she stopped exercising and the vodka became Pepsi and vodka, she gained weight.
- "Stanwyck was a heavy smoker..."
ALL of them were heavy smokers/drinkers. Duh.
Stanwyck happened to stay thin because she was an athlete and ate an Atkins-like diet most of her life.
Not only was she an excellent horsewoman, she used a treadmill until her late 70s.
- Mother was a cunt.
- "Did anyone not love her?"
Robert Taylor's mother took to her bed when she heard on the radio that her son had married Stanwyck. On his wedding night, Taylor slept with his mother and held her all night, fearing she'd have a heart attack.
- Was Robert Taylor bi or closeted gay? He's totally forgotten now, but in his day he was a huge star, as famous as Clark Gable.
- Barbara Stanwyck winning an Emmy in 1961, beating out Loretta Young and Donna Reed. Stanwyck is alarmingly thin in this clip.
- I couldn't find a video of Davis on Person to Person in 1957, but came across this interview from the same period. Davis looks old and matronly.
- Axel Madsen's error-laden bio of Stanwyck makes reference to a couple of incidents where Taylor was a male escort to some of Tinseltown's aging queens, and quite possibly got his start that way. But he was far from the only one.
- How staged was B. D.'s cameo appearance in R-271's clip? She seemed robotic, almost medicated.
- Was Bette's waist really ever this thin?
- R274, this photo was obviously photoshopped (some early variant of)
by the publicity department at Fox. OR else Davis was wearing a heavy-duty corset for the photo shoot.
- Actually, I bet that photo is photoshopped around both Bette and Anne's waists. It seems to be the reason to pose them in front of a stark white background.
- Great link r271! Thanks for posting.
Bette must have been at one of her low points, career-wise in 1958, but she comes across so strong, content and confident, but not bitchy at all. Or "uh-TALL!" as she would say.
- Margo Channing was the missing link in Davis's career. With it she turned from leading lady to character actress in a great part that was both.
But there aren't that many parts, great or not, that are in equal parts character and leading lady. Of those that were in the 50s, some went to Katharine Hepburn and Geraldine Page, for instance, because they were more right for those ladies than they were for Bette Davis.
Davis might have gotten to play Maxine in the movie version of Night of the Iguana but I would suspect that her famously horrible behavior during the Broadway run of that play left tbat possibility completely out of the question.
Davis was considered for the role of Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Actually, Jack Warner wanted her for it opposite James Mason and Edward Albee was very into the idea. Mike Nichol and screenwriter Ernest Lehman thought better of the idea. Thinking, perhaps quite correctly - though perhaps Davis could have proven them wrong - that such casting would have proven too much for the audience, with Davis and Mason being way too much an obvious harridan v. wimp chemistry than the play could handle.
And the rest is history.
- Ava Gardner was still a ravishingly sexy woman when she played Maxine in the film of Night of the Iguana. And her casting made sense, especially because Deborah Kerr's character, Hannah, could not be particularly sexual.
Burton needed someone sexy to play against and it sure as hell wasn't going to be Bette Davis in her late 50s.
One wonders how and why Bette was the original casting in the play.
- She got excellent reviews for CATERED AFFAIR playing a blue collar housewife ... a role from 180 degrees away from Margo Channing.
Too many of her later roles were pure camp, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, DEATH ON THE NILE, etc
- Interesting observations from R278 and R279. I really like the insight about parts that are both character parts and leading lady. Pauline Kael
Gardner was nowhere near Davis in terms of talent, but after seeing her really sensual turn in "The Night of the Iguana," it's hard (as R279 noted) to imagine Davis in the part. She's unthinkable in "Virginia Woolf"--her range had narrowed so markedly during the 50s that she really was only right for camp. (Would she have been better in better parts?)
- I liked her in Pocketful of Miracles (1961) and in Death on the Nile (1978). Some films she could have done where she would have been suited for the parts: Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad (1967), The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972), On Golden Pond (1981), Night Mother (1986), The Trip to Bountiful (1985), Driving Miss Daisy (released the year of her death).
- She also might have been interesting in the films of Come Back, Little Sheba and The Matchmaker, both of which starred Shirley Booth (who was, of course, undeniably brilliant).
Or as the mother in East of Eden, played by Jo Van Fleet.
Or as the grandmother in The Children's Hour, played by Fay Bainter.
- Another part Davis missed out on:
- While Bette Davis spent the 1950s post-Margo Channing in mediocre film roles and guest starring in episodic TV, Katharine Hepburn received FOUR Oscar nominations during the decade.
The African Queen
Suddenly Last Summer
Except for The Rainmaker, I think Bette could have played any of Kate's other roles. She would have been quite different, obviously, but fascinating nevertheless.
Kate was also paired with Spencer Tracy in Adam's Rib, Desk Set and Pat & Mike during the 1950s.
- When Anchor Bay and Disney had a DVD licensing agreement, AB wanted to put up the money to restore the director's cut of [italic]The Watcher in the Woods[/italic], but Michael Eisner (and according to some sources, Roy E. Disney) refused them. Here's the story:
- Why is TCM airing back-to-back Joan Crawford films all day today?
- They even showed Humoreqsue. I love that movie.
- Bette Davis was not a beautiful woman, she wasn't even pretty. In fact, she was almost homely. But through sheer talent and ability she was a star. You can't take your eyes off of her in any of the films she made.
- Why not, dear R287? And R288, I am thrilled that you love HUMORESQUE! Oddly enough, R289, I totally agree with you about Miss Davis. Poor dear never had the beauty, but you couldn't take your eyes off of her, it's true. Just like a gruesome auto accident.
- A documentary record of Bette Davis’ final days at Spain's main film festival, done with all due dignity and respect
Bette Davis’ final public appearance was twenty five years ago at the 1989 San Sebastian film festival in Spain, and her death, which she knew was imminent, followed shortly after in a French hospital. These events have given her a special place in the hearts of those Spanish film aficionados who were desperate for a little glamor after forty years of Franco, and When Bette Davis Bids Farewell works up the story of those few days into an affectionate, fun homage which is sometimes humorous, sometimes touching, and always respectful.
- That fact that Davis was namechecked in VIRGINIA WOOLF mean that she couldn't play it, without it being camp. The fact that she's namechecked at all shows that she'd passed over from actress to "media personality", which limited her castability. She was only suitable for Bette Davis "vehicles".
- Few of them were true classic beauties. But they had interesting faces that photographed well. And that undefinable thing called star quality. Davis, Stanwyck, Harlow - none conventional beauties, but they struck a chord with the public.
Look at what happened to Anna Sten. Hand-picked by MGM and groomed for stardom. Gorgeous and shapely, and her career never took off. It was sorta like the Edsel of film careers.