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Bette Davis: The Performances That Made Her Great

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Bette Davis, whose career spanned almost 50 years and covered theatre, radio, TV and motion pictures, was at one time the first lady of the big screen. Working with such storied performers as Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, and Joan Crawford, and directors Edmund Goulding, William Wyler and Robert Aldrich, Bette Davis provided some of the most memorable performances in movie history. This volume contains detailed analyses of Bette Davis' top twelve films spanning 1938 to 1987 and including The Letter, All About ...
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About the Book Bette Davis, whose career spanned almost 50 years and covered theatre, radio, TV and motion pictures, was at one time the first lady of the big screen. Working ... with such storied performers as Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, and Joan Crawford, and directors Edmund Goulding, William Wyler and Robert Aldrich, Bette Davis provided some of the most memorable performances in movie history. This volume contains detailed analyses of Bette Davis’ top twelve films spanning 1938 to 1987 and including The Letter, All About Eve, The Little Foxes, Jezebel, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and The Whales of August. Each film is discussed in depth, with an examination of its script, direction, camerawork and performances, particularly as they relate to Davis’s work. A second group of films, memorable largely for Davis’s performance rather than the overall success of the work, are also examined. Special emphasis is placed on the way Davis viewed her own work as well as the detrimental effect her devotion to her career had on her personal life. Appendices contain a list of her marriages and children; her Oscar nominations; a discussion of Davis’s missed opportunities; and a partial chronology of her films. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Bette Davis, whose career spanned almost 50 years and covered theatre, radio, TV and motion pictures, was at one time the first lady of the big screen. Working with such storied performers as Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, and Joan Crawford, and directors Edmund Goulding, William Wyler and Robert Aldrich, Bette Davis provided some of the most memorable performances in movie history. This volume contains detailed analyses of Bette Davis' top twelve films spanning 1938 to 1987 and including The Letter, All About Eve, The Little Foxes, Jezebel, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and The Whales of August. Each film is discussed in depth, with an examination of its script, direction, camerawork and performances, particularly as they relate to Davis's work. A second group of films, memorable largely for Davis's performance rather than the overall success of the work, are also examined. Special emphasis is placed on the way Davis viewed her own work as well as the detrimental effect her devotion to her career had on her personal life. Appendices contain a list of her marriages and children; her Oscar nominations; a discussion of Davis's missed opportunities; and a partial chronology of her films.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786434992
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/29/2008
  • Pages: 263
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Retired educator Peter McNally lives in Buffalo, New York.

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Table of Contents

Preface     1
Introduction     vii
The First Tier
The Letter (1940), A Tale of a Liar     9
All About Eve (1950), Best Performance     22
Dark Victory (1939), Acting Victory     38
The Little Foxes (1941), Star Versus Director     51
Now, Voyager (1942), A Woman of Independence     63
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), Hollywood Horror in Kabuki     78
A Piano for Mrs. Cimino (1982), A Concerto for Davis     91
The Old Maid (1939), The 19th Century and Illegitimacy     102
The Virgin Queen (1955), Again, a Queen     114
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), First and Forever a Queen     123
The Whales of August (1987), The Greatest Star and the Greatest Star     131
Jezebel (1938), The Legend Begun     140
The Second Tier
Not to Be Overlooked, Twelve Other Significant Performances in Not Always Significant Films     153
In the Final Analysis     221
Afterword     231
Personal Data     233
Nominations and Awards     235
The "Woman's Picture" Factor     237
Missed Opportunities     239
Film Chronology     241
Chapter Notes     243
Bibliography     247
Index     249
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