The Little FoxesDirector: William Wyler,
Playwright Lillian Hellman first wrote of the horrible Hubbard family in her 1939 play The Little Foxes. In this lavish 1941 film version, Bette Davis takes over for Broadway's Tallulah Bankhead in the role of conniving turn-of-the-century Southern aristocrat Regina Hubbard Giddens. Regina's equally odious brothers (Charles Dingle and Carl Benton Reid) want her to lend them 75,000 dollars to help build a cotton mill. To do this, she must make peace with her long-estranged husband, Horace (Herbert Marshall) -- and failing that, she tries to arrange a wealthy marriage between her daughter, Alexandra (Teresa Wright), and her slimy nephew Leo (Dan Duryea). Horace refuses to give Regina the money, whereupon Leo is pressured by his father (Reid) to steal bonds from the family business. Regina uses this information as a means of blackmailing her brothers for a share in the new mill. In retaliation, Horace claims that he gave Leo the bonds as a loan, thereby cutting Regina out of the deal. When Horace suffers a heart attack, Regina makes no effort to give him his medicine, and he dies without revealing his willingness to loan the money to Leo. Regina is thus still able to strongarm her brothers into giving her a piece of the mill -- but the price for her evil machinations is the loss of her daughter's love and respect. The Little Foxes caused a censorship stir in 1941; by refusing to give Horace his medicine, Regina technically gets away with murder. However, the censors decided that Regina was punished enough when her daughter left her to marry an honest newspaperman (Richard Carlson). Given the usual Tiffany treatment by producer Sam Goldwyn, The Little Foxes was a success; several years later, Lillian Hellman wrote a "prequel" to The Little Foxes, titled Another Part of the Forest.
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Cast & Crew
|Bette Davis||Regina Hubbard Giddens|
|Herbert Marshall||Horace Giddens|
|Teresa Wright||Alexandra Giddens|
|Richard Carlson||David Hewitt|
|Patricia Collinge||Birdie Hubbard|
|Charles Dingle||Ben Hubbard|
|Dan Duryea||Leo Hubbard|
|Carl Benton Reid||Oscar Hubbard|
|Russell Hicks||William Marshall|
|Lucien Littlefield||Sam Naders|
|Virginia Brissac||Lucy Hewitt|
|Al Bridge||Dawson, the Hotel Manager|
|Lew Kelly||Train Companion|
|Howard Bristol||Set Decoration/Design|
|Stephen Goosson||Production Designer|
|William Tummel||Asst. Director|
|Meredith Willson||Score Composer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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'The Little Foxes' is based on the play by Lillian Hellman. It stars Bette Davis as Regina Giddens, the ruthless matriarch of a Southern family steeped in deceit, fraud and betrayal. Regina wants to be rich again and to this end she is willing to destroy her two brothers, sell her only daughter, Alexandra (Teresa Wright) in marriage to her first cousin, and kill her ex-husband, Horace (Herbert Marshall) by giving him a heart attack and then refusing to give him the medication that might save his life. This is one tough and classy dame! True to its Southern roots, the plot meanders through a series of complications which are riveting, slowly paving the way for Regina¿s greatness. Unfortunately, Regina underestimates the courage, determination and forthright penitence of her daughter to buck her and depart from the old plantation manor with new love David Hewitt (Richard Carlson). Although the print for this film shows little signs of age related artifacts, nothing can excuse the edge enhancement, shimmering of fine details and aliasing that is inherent in nearly every scene. It really is distracting, especially as a lot of the key scenes are played out on a winding banister with ornate spindles that shake and shimmy all over the screen - enough to give one a small headache. The audio is mono and very nicely balanced. A Theatrical trailer that looks as though it was fed through a meat grinder is the only extra included here for your consideration. This isn't one to spend your money on!
This is Bette Davis at her best.
A Davis performance not to be missed. She insisted on her own harsh makeup, and is supported by an outstanding cast.