A lot of B&W movies have their appeal and charm for some, but they usually leave me bored to tears and not at all engaged. This movie was quite different! I will be checking out more movies starring Bette Davis from the library, as she was quite the character to watch! In Jezebel, there were many times where her character had me so FRUSTRATED at her choices, but that made me want to continue watching even more. P.S. Bette Davis won an Academy Award for this performance, in 1938 :-)
Bette Davis plays Julie, a headstrong southern belle who is blessed with more balls than brains in this sumptuous period piece set in antebellum Louisiana. Her insistence that she be at the centre of everyone’s universe eventually leads to her downfall as she alienates herself not only from her family and social circles, but the only two men who ever loved her including Preston her sometime fiancé. She eventually learns the error of her ways however and in the end we see a humbled and contrite Julie go from wildcat to ministering angel as an outbreak of yellow fever ravages the streets of New Orleans. Wyler presents us with a picture postcard of a film filled with genteel stereotypes whether it be impeccably dressed gentlemen dueling at dawn or contented slaves ready to belt out a rousing spiritual at the drop of a manacle. The sets and costumes are painstakingly authentic and the musical score, while subdued, is perfectly synched to the onscreen action. There is even a hint of Dantean imagery as we see a cloaked Julie barging across a fetid river in order to walk among the plague victims. Unfortunately, when you eliminate the grandiose sets and hoop skirts you’re left with little more than a one-hankie tearjerker, which lacks any profound depth. Still, the acting is wonderful especially Davis’ Oscar-winning performance and the B&W cinematography beautifully rendered. Entertaining, if not challenging.
Bette Davis iswonderfulin this film. Henry Fonda is adorable. I feel like this was a toned down Gone With the Wind. Takes place in the South in the mid 1800s. It was a good film, and I recommend it.
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