Monday, March 21, 2011
Part 5 of 6: Bette Davis.
Davis, turned down the title role in the film, Mildred Pierce (1945), instead performed in the film, The Corn Is Green (1945) based on a play by Emlyn Williams. Davis played Miss Moffat, an English teacher who saves a young Welsh miner from a life working in the coal mines, by giving him an education. The part had originally been played in the theatre by Ethel Barrymore but Warner Bros. felt that the film version should have a younger woman play the part. Davis disagreed and played the part as it was written.
Her next film, A Stolen Life (1946), was the first and only film that Davis made with her own production company, BD Productions. Davis played dual roles, as twins. The story is about Kate Bosworth and her twin sister Patricia, who fall in love with the same man, lighthouse inspector Bill Emerson. Patricia and Bill are married. While Bill is on travel to Chile, Kate and Patricia go sailing, Patricia is washed overboard and drowned. Kate's boat capsizes and when she finds herself ashore, she is believed to be Patricia.
Her next film was, Deception (1946), the first of her films to lose money.
Please click here to view Deception movie review.
Davis, was cast in the film, Winter Meeting(1948) and when she learned that Warner had arranged for "softer" lighting. She remembered that she had seen the same lighting technique on the sets of, Ruth Chatterton and Kay Francis and she knew that it meant he wanted to hide her age. She began to regret accepting the role and to add to her problems, she was not too happy with her leading man, Jim Davis. The story is about a poet Susan Grieve, who meets a World War II naval hero Lieutenant Slick Novak, at a dinner party is being held in his honor. He is more interested in Susan, than his blind date Peggy and offers to take her home, where she gives into his charms.
The following day, Slick returns to Susan's, apartment and she invites him to stay with her at her country house. Now, comfortable with each other, Susan tells him about her family secrets and he shares with her that he would like to become a priest.
Slick, returns to the city alone and Susan, accidentally runs into him and Peggy, in the restaurant where they first met. The following day, he visits Susan's apartment and suggests they try to make their relationship work, but she thinks he would be happier as a priest and the two part ways.
Davis, clashed with her co-star Robert Montgomery, while making the film, June Bride (1948), later describing him as "a male Miriam Hopkins... an excellent actor, who was also a scene-stealer. The film marked her first comedy in several years. The story begins, when Foreign correspondent Carey Jackson, returns to New York City and is offered a job on a women's magazine. He accepts because he will be working with editor Linda Gilman, whom he once loved. Linda, agrees to hire him if he agrees to keep their relationship on a professional level.
The two head for the Brinker home in Crestville, Indiana to write a story about Jeanne's wedding to Bud Mitchell, for the June issue. Linda wants Carey, to write a simple story about the young couple, but he is looking for a more spicy story. He is in luck, when Jeanne's younger sister Barbara, says she always has been in love with Bud, the brother of Jeanne's former boyfriend Jim, who Jeanne dumbed when he went into the Army. Carey, comes up with a plan to ask an officer he knows to order Jim home for the wedding, but then changes his mind. Barbara, secretly telephones Carey's friend and arranges a leave for Jim.
The trouble begins, when Jim arrives home and Carey tries to get rid of him while Linda, makes him stay. Jim and Jeanne elope, Linda fires Carey, but.. he still writes his story. Linda realizes he was right about the couples all along..
Jack Warner, cast her in the film, Beyond the Forest (1949). Davis, reportedly hated the script and begged Warner to recast the role, but he refused. The story is about a bored housewife Rosa Moline, who is the wife of a small-town doctor. She becomes interested in a visiting Chicago businessman. She steals money from her husband to get to Chicago, but the businessman is not interested in her. She returns home and becomes pregnant by her husband. The businessman changes his mind and wants her back, but not the baby. She falls down a hill and gets an infection, dying in what Bette Davis called "the longest death scene ever seen on the screen." After the film was completed, Warner released Davis from her contract.