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Payment on Demand
     

Payment on Demand

Director: Curtis Bernhardt, Bette Davis, Barry Sullivan, Jane Cowl

Cast: Curtis Bernhardt, Bette Davis, Barry Sullivan, Jane Cowl

 
Just before filming All About Eve, Bette Davis starred in the marital melodrama Payment on Demand. Davis plays Joyce Ramsey, the wife of David Ramsey (Barry Sullivan), who one fine morning demands a divorce. Most of the film is in flashback, recounting the events leading up to the marital schism. After David takes up with a school teacher (Frances Dee),

Overview

Just before filming All About Eve, Bette Davis starred in the marital melodrama Payment on Demand. Davis plays Joyce Ramsey, the wife of David Ramsey (Barry Sullivan), who one fine morning demands a divorce. Most of the film is in flashback, recounting the events leading up to the marital schism. After David takes up with a school teacher (Frances Dee), Joyce heads for a Haitian vacation, hoping to spark a few affairs of her own. But after a chance meeting with an old friend (Jane Cowl) who's become hard and cynical since her own divorce, Davis heads back to the States and attempts to patch up her marriage. Director Curtis Bernhardt was particularly proud of the opening scene in Payment on Demand, wherein Barry Sullivan requests a divorce as calmly as if he were ordering breakfast.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Often thought of as a "neglected" Bette Davis film, Payment on Demand is a good, solid marital drama blessed with a spot-on star turn from the actress. Payment was overshadowed by the fact that it came right after All About Eve, and was considered inferior stuff after that true classic. On its own terms, however, Payment is an intriguing and involving look at a couple in the throes of divorce. True, it's a bit manipulative and more interested in scoring dramatic points than in delving with total honesty into the problems surrounding this marriage (and it also loses some impact due to having adhere to the Hays Code), but even so, Payment packs a nice punch and does manage to take a more truthful look at some of the issues it presents than many other films of the era would. And while it may be manipulative, the screenplay is also undeniably engaging, thanks in large part to the assured manner in which Curtis Bernhardt directs it. For example, while he makes sure there are plenty of fireworks scenes, he also finds opportunity for quieter moments, such as the opening "I want a divorce" segment for Barry Sullivan. Davis is in altogether excellent form -- a harridan one moment, a mass of vulnerability the next. Sullivan does quite well, and Jane Cowl is marvelous in a supporting role. Leo Tover's cinematography, especially in the flashbacks, is especially noteworthy.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2009
UPC:
0883316127087
Original Release:
1951
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
30,663

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bette Davis Joyce Ramsey
Barry Sullivan David Ramsey
Jane Cowl Mrs. Hedges
Kent Taylor Robert Townsend
Betty Lynn Martha Ramsey
Frances Dee School teacher
John Sutton Businessman
Peggie Castle Diana Ramsey
Otto Kruger Prescott
Walter Sande Swanson
Brett King Phil Polanski
Richard Anderson Jim Boland
Natalie Schafer Mrs. Blanton
Katherine Emery Mrs. Gates
Lisa Golm Molly
Lela Bliss Mrs. Filson
Jay Brooks Butler
Barbara Peterson Davis Actor
Ilka Gruning Mrs. Polanski
Ruth Lee Aunt Edna
David Leonard Mr. Polanski
Mack Williams Pinkins
Kathleen Ellis Receptionist
Moroni Olsen Attorney

Technical Credits
Curtis Bernhardt Director,Screenwriter
Constantin Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
Chick Bernhardt Screenwriter
Manning Bernhardt Screenwriter
Carroll Clark Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Albert S. D'Agostino Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Bruce Manning Producer,Screenwriter
Harry Marker Editor
Jack H. Skirball Producer
Leo Tover Cinematographer
Victor Young Score Composer

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