Talk about your tour-de-force. Ms Davis dominates a talented cast and expensive backdrops as the vainglorious Southern belle Julie / Jezebel of the piece, cowing her spiky fiancé Henry Fonda into allowing her to wear a scandalous red dress to the ball where the great and the good are all in attendance to pass judgement on her misplaced show of bravado. A mortified Fonda toughs it out in one of the most memorable scenes as the universally white – frocked female dancers vacate the floor, too affronted to share space with Davis, with the aftermath seeing Fonda move away and bring back a year later a Yankee wife. Davis's reaction to this and her ultimate sacrifice as redemption, when she later tends to fever – infected Fonda at the movie's climax encompass the main plot to this grand old piece of Hollywood costume drama. There are some disaffecting matters here though, particularly the patronising of the southern negro, all "yes'm'" and "clap yo' …
This film is the reason Ms. Davis didn't play Scarlett, as it would have been a rerun. She has it down pat in her performance in this movie. While she had so many great performances in her career very few top this one.Henry Fonda is young in this film but very effective playing opposite as the male lead. The film accidentally has a valuable historic lesson today's environmentalist chooses to ignore. A fair piece of the plot centers around the fact that a plague (fever) type of illness is running through the South & killing a lot of people.Fondas character is shown being bitten by a mosquito at one point in the movie. He then becomes ill with the plague & dies. After he is bitten, Fonda's character says "Maybe with all these people getting sick & dying, the Yankees up North have a good idea about draining all their swamps." Today environmentalists are trying to save wetlands but in order to do that they are ignoring the health risks to people living ne…
Bette Davis dominates the whole movie with a mesmerizing performance,which earned her a second Oscar. As the love of her life we find a young and handsome Henry Fonda.Davis,who sometimes overacted gloriously, is kept more subdued by master director William Wyler. Her performance is the better for it.George Brent,playing the other male lead, has rarely been better.As the southerner unable to change his obsolete ways,he's a marvel.The musical score by Max Steiner is one of his best and adds to the brilliant depiction of a bygone era. Depiction of African-Americans in movies from this era are often very racist, but I found some scenes were they were portrayed more sympathetic than in other movies of the thirties. Jezebel is one of the best movies I have seen with Bette Davis.
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