Jezebel is Full of Range (and an Epidemic)
William Wyler’s Jezebel is an excellent movie for showing off Bette Davis’s range. Aside from Davis, it’s fun to watch Fay Bainter as the ever worried, silent-suffering Aunt Belle Massey as well as to see 1850s New Orleans society mores.* I wasn’t fully convinced by the transformation,*** but was all in on the journey to get there.
The verdict: Good
Cost: Free via TV Time Feature Films which is a Roku Channel that has TONS of old movies!
Where watched: at home
Consider also watching:
*I thought I was headed in for a film full of shaming and was delighted to discover a more nuanced narrative.**
**Less delightful: the many “happy slaves” portrayed in this movie. That element has not aged well.
***I also wasn’t convinced that I was supposed to be convinced.
- Was Julie’s transformation complete, or was she still working an angle?
- What other 1930s films do you enjoy? Filmspotting recently did a starter pack.
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
Fay Bainter became the first actor to receive nominations in the Lead and Supporting acting categories, being nominated for Best Actress for White Banners (1938) and for Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel (1938).
(I also enjoyed her as the mom in State Fair!)
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