Thursday, August 10, 2006


I like the sexual subtext in many of these films from the '30s. Jezebel, which is gorgeously made and acted, features Bette Davis as a strong-willed filly who uses her sexuality and social position to turn men against each other. Often there are duels in her name, and hips shattered by iron pellets and calamity follow. She ends up losing her true love (Henry Fonda) because of her machinations, but doesn't learn her lesson until it's too late.

Favorite scenes? Fonda brings a cane along on a visit to Davis after being advised that his father would have 'cut a switch' had a woman treated him in similar manner. Davis opens the door to see Fonda, shot from behind and below, with this magnificent knobbed object thrust forward from his hips. She smiles lasciviously, pulls gently at the ribbons on her gown. Wonderful! Another scene features Davis trying on dresses for a grand ball; she has the first removed to reveal her stuck in the enormous cage of her bustle, seated on a stool--an excellent visual symbol. Also, Yellow Jack fever strikes New Orleans and a doctor says "If it ever got round that there was one code for the rich and another for the poor during a catastrophe in New Orleans this city would be finished!" Hmmmmm.

The DVD quality is excellent:

Still from


Seth Anderson said...

This is a great movie, isn't it? Seen it a couple times. Gets compared often to Gone with the Wind, but I despised that dreck.

geoff said...

I liked this much better than GWTW too. Bette Davis was something else.