Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Part 4 of 6: Bette Davis.

At John Garfield's suggestion of opening a service men's club in Hollywood, Davis with the help of Warner, Cary Grant and Jule Styne they transformed an old nightclub into the Hollywood Canteen. She performed as herself in the film, Hollywood Canteen (1944).

The story is about Two soldiers on sick leave, who spend three nights at the Hollywood Canteen before returning to active duty. Slim Green is the millionth G.I. to enter the Canteen and wins a date with Joan Leslie. The other G.I., Sergeant Nolan, dances with Joan Crawford.

Davis really was not interested in the film Now, Voyager (1942), until Hal Wallis said female audiences loved romantic dramas. In one of the film's most imitated scenes Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes before passing one to Davis. The story is about Charlotte Vale, who is under the control of her over baring mother until Dr. Jaquith gets her to visit his sanitarium where she is transformed into elegant, lady. While she is enjoying a South American cruise she falls in love with Jerry, who is already married. Back home, when she stands up for herself her mother dies of a heart attack. Charlotte, returns to the sanitarium where she finds Jerry's introverted daughter Tina. The two become fast friends and move back to Boston. When Jerry sees how happy his daughter is, he leaves her with Charlotte.

During the early 1940s, many of Davis's film choices were influenced by the war, such as Watch on the Rhine (1943) and Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943), a lighthearted all-star musical , with each of the stars donating their fee to the Hollywood Canteen.

Old Acquaintance (1943) reunited her with Miriam Hopkins, in a story about Jealousy. Kit, is a unsuccessful author and playwright, Millie writes a novel, the first of many bestselling novels. After eight years taking a backseat to Millie's fame, her husband Preston decides to leave her. Many years later Millie discovers Preston is now engaged and he also admits that he was once in love with Kit. Blaming Kit for the failure of her marriage, Millie confronts her. Millie and Kit make up, sharing a champagne toast for each one's old acquaintance. Davis felt that Hopkins tried to upstage her throughout the film.

Her behavior during filming of Mr. Skeffington was erratic and out of character. She improvised dialogue, causing confusion among the other actors. Davis did receive another Academy Award nomination.
Please click here to view Mr. Skeffington movie review.

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