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4.0 2
Director: William Wyler, Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent

Cast: William Wyler, Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent


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Jezebel was, in 1938, widely regarded as Warner Bros.' "compensation" to Bette Davis for her losing the opportunity to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. Resemblances to the two properties are inescapable: Jezebel heroine Julie Morrison is a headstrong Southern belle not unlike Scarlett (Julie lives in New


Jezebel was, in 1938, widely regarded as Warner Bros.' "compensation" to Bette Davis for her losing the opportunity to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. Resemblances to the two properties are inescapable: Jezebel heroine Julie Morrison is a headstrong Southern belle not unlike Scarlett (Julie lives in New Orleans rather than Georgia); she foolishly loves a man (played by Henry Fonda) who is betrothed to another; and she makes a public spectacle of herself by wearing an inappropriate red dress at a ball, just as Scarlett O'Hara brazenly danced with Rhett Butler while still garbed in widow's weeds. There are several other resemblances between the two properties, but it's important to note that Jezebel is set in the 1850s, several years before Gone with the Wind's Civil War milieu; and we must observe that, unlike Scarlett O'Hara, Julie Morrison is humbled by her experiences and ends up giving of her time, energy and health during a deadly Yellow Jack outbreak. Bette Davis won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Julie Morrison; an additional Oscar went to Fay Bainter for her portrayal of the remonstrative Aunt Belle (she's the one who labels Julie a "Jezebel" at a crucial plot point). The offscreen intrigues of Jezebel, including Bette Davis' romantic attachment to director William Wyler and costar George Brent, have been fully documented elsewhere. Jezebel was based on an old and oft-produced play by Owen Davis Sr.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
Jezebel, which wrapped up as Gone With the Wind was entering pre-production, was either Bette Davis' feature-length screen test for Scarlett O'Hara or a consolation prize for not getting the part. Regardless, she handles the title role with the catty, manipulative cruelty that characterized many of her best performances. As her beau, Henry Fonda appears a little uncomfortable in the period piece. Ultimately, the film's success is wrapped around Davis' steely performance and the elegant production values: it is filmed in evocative black-and-white, and the cinematography uses light and shadow to build texture and mood and to help us forget that Davis' scandalous red dress is left up to our imaginations. Composer Max Steiner's music (he also composed the score for Gone With the Wind) is atmospherically effective. The film's study of the conventions and gender roles of the antebellum South occasionally makes the film feel more like a socio-historical document than a drama. Jezebel was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning for Davis and for Fay Bainter as her aunt.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; New Digital transfer from restored picture and audio elements; Commentary by film historian Jeannine Basinger; New featurette Jezebel: Legend of the South; Vintage musical short melody masters: Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra; Classic cartoon the Mice Will Play; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Feature Film Only)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bette Davis Julie Marsden
Henry Fonda Preston Dillard
George Brent Buck Cantrell
Margaret Lindsay Amy Bradford Dillard
Donald Crisp Dr. Livingstons
Fay Bainter Aunt Belle Bogardus
Richard Cromwell Ted Dillard
Henry O'Neill Gen. Theopholus Bogardus
Spring Byington Mrs. Kendrick
John Litel Jean La Cour
Gordon Oliver Dick Allen
Janet Shaw Molly Allen
Theresa Harris Zette
Margaret Early Stephanie Kendrick
Irving Pichel Huger
Lou Payton Uncle Cato
Jesse Graves Black Servant
Charles B. Middleton Officer
Fred Lawrence Bob
Suzanne Dulier Midinette
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson Gros Bat
Georgia Caine Mrs. Petion
Matthew "Stymie" Beard Ti Bat
Georges Renavent De Lautrec
Ann Codee Mme. Poulard the Dressmaker
Sam McDaniel Driver
Trevor Bardette Sheriff at Plantation
Al Bridge New Orleans Sheriff
Maurice Brierre Drunk
Daisy Bufford Black Flower Girl
Frederick Burton First Director
Davison Clark Deputy Sheriff
Frank Darien Bank Bookkeeper
Jack George Orchestra leader
George Guhl Fugitive Planter
John Harron Jenkins
Philip Hurlic Erronens
Edward McWade Second Director
Louis Mercier Bar Companion
Tony Paton Drunk
Jacques Vanaire Durette
Charles Wagenheim Customer

Technical Credits
William Wyler Director
Henry Blanke Associate Producer
Robert Bruckner Screenwriter
Alexis Dubin Songwriter
Abem Finkel Screenwriter
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert M. Haas Art Director
Ernest Haller Cinematographer
John Huston Screenwriter
Orry Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Warren Low Editor
Johnny Mercer Songwriter
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Clements Ripley Screenwriter
Max Steiner Score Composer
Hal B. Wallis Executive Producer
Harry Warren Songwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Jezebel
1. Credits [1:09]
2. Gentlemen's Duel [3:51]
3. Late for Her Own Party [4:51]
4. Trying to Pound Some Sense [3:05]
5. What's Important [2:32]
6. Seriously Vulgar [3:00]
7. Battle of Won'ts [6:33]
8. Devil in a Red Dress [3:31]
9. Olympus Ball Scandal [4:11]
10. Alone on the Dance Floor [2:15]
11. Nothing More to Say [2:20]
12. Pres Is Coming Home [6:03]
13. Halcyon Plantation [5:23]
14. Pres and His Bride [2:03]
15. Pres Is Mine [5:29]
16. Abolitionist Talk [3:34]
17. In Your Blood [5:58]
18. Inciting Buck [4:29]
19. Ted's Challenge [2:23]
20. Let's Raise a Ruckus [3:07]
21. Duel of Chivalry [3:32]
22. Jezebel; the Fugitive [2:57]
23. Yellow Jack [4:54]
24. Through the Fever Line [4:09]
25. At Pres' Bedside [4:57]
26. Julie Appeals to Amy [4:52]
27. God Protect You and Pres [1:50]
28. Cast List [:51]


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Jezebel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bette Davis took home the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as spoiled Southern belle, Julie Marsden in 'Jezebel'. More than anything Julie wants to be loved. But her mean spirit and fiery desire seem to destroy her only chances for happiness. When Julie arrives at a debutante ball wearing a harlot-red gown amongst the virginal white ladies of the evening, she humiliates and alienates her rich lawyer beaux, Preston Dillard (Henry Fonda). Throughout the course of the film Julie will try in vane to win back Preston¿s love, a dream that is shattered when Preston retreats to the North, only to return on the arm of Molly Allen (Janet Shaw) ¿ his wife. Engorged by jealous rage, Julie attempts to instill jealousy in her old friend, Buck Cantrell (George Brent), but his feeble attempt to pistol duel his way to her honor results in his own death. Then 'yellow fever' hits and the south begins to fall down around Julie¿s ankles. Davis is superb and she is supported by a stellar cast of character actors, topped off by Faye Bainter, as her sympathetic aunt. This film really stirred the breeze in 1936. It also killed whatever small chances Bette Davis may have had to play Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone With The Wind'. This is no 'Gone With The Wind' but, as told by director William Wyler, it¿s a finely crafted melodrama and a tour de force for Davis. So where's the problem? In the transfer: Warner doesn't give us much to hope for. Like 'Dark Victory' this DVD is riddled with artifacts and digital compression problems that leave most of the image looking excessively harsh and grainy. The audio is mono but nicely balanced. Black levels are good but the gray scale seems to be lacking - too much middle range and not enough high and low end balance so that everything registers a dismal gray rather than a vibrant silvery spectrum of lights and darks. There are no extras.