Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB
USA, 1949. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Lenore J. Coffee, based on the novel by Stuart Engstrand. Cinematography by Robert Burks. Produced by Henry Blanke. Music by Max Steiner. Production Design by Robert M. Haas. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Rudi Fehr.
This is the film that Elizabeth Taylor quotes in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?: Bette Davis made movie history simply by entering a room, looking around and exclaiming ‘What a dump!’ and, sadly, that’s pretty much all there is to make it worthwhile.
Davis plays a small-town girl who is bored with life and falls in love with a Chicago industrialist (David Brian) who has a hunting lodge nearby. She squeezes her kindly doctor-husband (Joseph Cotten) about getting his patients to settle their unpaid bills in order for her to soup up her life and impress Brian, even leaving her husband and moving to Chicago to be near him.
When he declares that he doesn’t want her, Davis returns to her home town but her husband doesn’t want her back either. The playing out of this is embarrassing melodrama, the finale misogynistic kitsch. Thankfully, Davis was only one year away from her career-saving film (and finest role ever), All About Eve.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture