Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Great Lie (1941).

The Great Lie (1941). Drama. Director: Edmund Goulding. The screenplay by Lenore J. Coffee, the movie is based on the novel, January Heights by Polan Banks. Cast: Bette Davis, Mary Astor, who the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and George Brent.

When concert pianist Sandra Kovak and her aviator husband Peter Van Allen learn their marriage is not valid because her divorce had not been finalized. Peter realizes that he really is not in love with Sandra and flies to Maryland to marry Maggie, his long time love.

Five days later, Pete's job calls him back to Washington, D.C., Maggie waits for him in New York. There she learns that Sandra is expecting a baby and intends to use her pregnancy to get Pete back.

Pete does not return to New York, but leaves for a mapping flight over the Brazilian jungle and when his plane goes missing, everyone believes he has crashed in the jungle and killed.

Now, that everyone thinks Pete is not coming back, Maggie suggests that she raise the child as her own. The two women go to Arizona to await the birth of Sandra's son, who is named after his father.

Sandra then goes off on her world tour, during which Peter, returns home and Maggie leads him to believe the boy is theirs. Will Sandra return, wanting the father and son for herself?

"The Great Lie", may not have been a very believable, love triangle, but the performances were all very good.

After the movie The Letter, Betty was vacationing in New Hampshire, when she was offered the part of Maggie Peterson in, The Great Lie. She wasn't very excited about it, but fans wanted her to play a nice role for a change. The best scenes are the confrontations between Davis and Astor. I thought Bette Davis and Mary Astor were equal in their wonderful performances.

George Brent (March 15, 1899 – May 26, 1979), Signed a contract with Warner Brothers, in the late 1930s and 1940s.

Highly regarded by Bette Davis, he became her most frequent male co-star, appearing with her in thirteen films, including Front Page Woman (1935), Special Agent (1935), The Golden Arrow (1936), Jezebel (1938), The Old Maid (1939), Dark Victory (1939) and The Great Lie (1941).

Brent also played opposite Ruby Keeler in 42nd Street (1933), Greta Garbo in The Painted Veil (1934), Madeleine Carroll in The Case Against Mrs. Ames (1936), Jean Arthur in More Than a Secretary (1936), Myrna Loy in Stamboul Quest (1934) and The Rains Came (1939), Merle Oberon in 'Til We Meet Again (1940), Ann Sheridan in Honeymoon for Three (1941), Joan Fontaine in The Affairs of Susan (1945), Barbara Stanwyck in The Purchase Price (1932), The Gay Sisters (1942) and My Reputation (1946), Claudette Colbert in Tomorrow Is Forever (1946), Dorothy McGuire in The Spiral Staircase (1946), Lucille Ball in Lover Come Back (1946) and Yvonne De Carlo in Slave Girl (1947).

Brent drifted into "B" pictures from the late 1940's and retired from film in 1953.

He continued to appear on television until 1960, starring in the series Wire Service in 1956.

In 1978, he made one last film, the made-for-television production Born Again.


  1. Dawn, Joann had me watch this some time ago. She knows how much I love the piano concerto, and that I like Mary. I'm glad she did. Mary sure can play the Bitch. It's hard to believe that this is the same actress that is the Mother in Meet Me in Saint Louis.

  2. Paul, After watching the film The Great Lie, I have new respect for Mary's acting ability.

  3. Dawn ,she sure has "chops".


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