Jezebel (1938)

DailyView: Day 95, Movie 161

Well, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is back at it again this week, showing a classic movie that I would not have known about or watched without this network. This week, the movie featured Bette Davis and one of her most iconic performances in Jezebel.

It was 1852 in New Orleans and Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) was a spoiled and stubborn Southern belle, whose bad behavior cost her the love of her fiancé Preston “Pres” Dillard (Henry Fonda). After a year in the North on business, Pres returned with his new wife Amy (Margaret Lindsay) causing Julie to become even more conniving.

This film is an intriguing portrait of live in the South pre-Civil War. The film swept everything dealing with slavery under the rug and only slightly touch upon the rivalry between the North and the South, reducing it to ‘political’ talk as it was mentioned a few times. Black characters were shown as servants and not in the manner as one might expect for the time period. However, they were more focused on the Yellow jack fever epidemic that gripped the people of New Orleans in the 1850s.

Bette Davis was great in the role, as she would win her second Academy Award for her performance in Jezebel. There was a glimmer of misbehavior in her eyes that was there the whole film, until the final scenes where she was redeemed. Her powerhouse performance carried the weight of this film and truly set Davis up as a major leading actress of the time. She was given the role, according to rumor, because she had not gotten the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind.

Once again, I am happy that TCM continues to show movies that I have not heard of or that I hav eyet to see. They have helped out the DailyView quite a bit.

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