|My favorite picture of Bette Davis ... I wish I could walk around with|
venetian blind shadows across my face ... it makes you look so good!
Most of my classic film favorites are on VHS tapes, and we all know those are becoming as obsolete as my old black rotary phone. The tapes are getting old and the picture and sound quality are deteriorating. I'm getting panicky about some of the old treasures I have taped off Turner Classic Movies that will never be available on DVD because they are too obscure. Replace all of my famous favorites with DVDs, you say? Hah! Not unless I win the lottery, which I have actually been told is about as likely as having a giraffe with no parachute jump from a plane and crash through your living room ceiling.
Last year I gave myself a birthday present and a Christmas present. Not that I don't get presents from other people, you understand. I really do have family and friends who are willing to spend money on me. These two particular items, though -- I was so greedy that I made sure I got them as gifts by spending my own money on me. The fact that I had to put off paying the electric and gas bills to do it was a minor point. I got two of the DVD collections of the movies of Bette Davis. What a thrill to bring those home! I lived in Bette-land all weekend with each one I bought. Today, for some reason I can't explain, I am in the mood to see the great Evil Bette. Maybe I'm feeling evil, and no one could inspire me to greater heights of meanness than Bette. So just for fun, I'm going to spend the next couple of evenings (and late nights probably) with Bette at her most bitchy. Here, in chronological order, are the movies I'm going to devour like a glutton devours dinner:
Jezebel (1938) Bette brazenly embarrasses poor Henry Fonda by wearing a lipstick-red gown at a ball where all young virgins wear white. Well, maybe there was a good reason she did not wear white, and maybe it was all Henry's fault. Oh, and later she tries to break up his marriage. Forgot about that one.
The Letter (1940) Bette coldly shoots her lover, lies to everybody about it, deceives her trusting husband (Herbert Marshall), hurts him when he finds out the truth, puts him through the torment of forgiving her infidelity, and then tells him ... "With all my heart, I still love the man I killed."
Lucrezia Borgia was an amateur compared to Bette.
The Little Foxes (1941) Boy, even her veil looks evil. Bette is a scheming, manipulative woman who has nothing but contempt for her sweet husband (poor Herbert Marshall again!). She wants money from him for a nasty business deal, he won't give it to her, and she watches him die of a heart attack as he desperately tries to find his heart medicine. Why do women like that always get the good ones?
Mr. Skeffington (1944) Maybe this doesn't really qualify as true evil, but Bette is an egotistical woman incapable of love who marries for money (Claude Rains), cares only about her looks, and doesn't want or care about her daughter. She is also really stupid. Again, a mean woman gets a sweet, loving man.
It's making me really mad.
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane (1962) Bette at her hammy best as an over-the-top, evil woman. She's also crazy. She's also delusional. And she beats her crippled sister (Joan Crawford) and serves rats to her for dinner. I personally have 4 sisters. I am going to choose carefully who I live with if I can't take of myself!
I hope you enjoyed this trip down Evil Bette lane. To be fair, sometime I'll do an article about the loving, sacrificial, scared and wounded Bette ... Dark Victory, Now, Voyager, All This and Heaven Too, The Great Lie ... Bette could do anything!