Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1944. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, from the story by Elizabeth von Arnim. Cinematography by Ernest Haller. Produced by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein. Music by Franz Waxman. Production Design by Robert M. Haas. Costume Design by Orry-Kelly. Film Editing by Ralph Dawson. Academy Awards 1944.
As with many similar soap opera films in which Bette Davis appeared, this one provides her with a magnificently juicy role while being in itself a grand bore. She plays a society bitch who mistreats everyone for decades (thanks to very impressive ageing makeup) until she finally gets the chance to make good. Claude Rains plays her husband, the title character, who is owed the most remonstration for her evil deeds. Oh well, so what if she’s mean, she’s more fun to watch than the rest of the dry characters in this undercooked costume drama.