Bette Davis

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To me Bette Davis was the best female screen star in movies, i love anything she was in, no one can take her place.
tell me what you think about Bette Davis.



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The only movie I've really seen her in is All About Eve, but I thought she was quite good in that. I keep meaning to see Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, too.

I also don't get how she ended up becoming an icon for gay people. Can someone explain?
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hi Iroquois,
thanks.
thats new to me she was free speaker on most everything.
What Ever Happen To Baby Jane is a good movie to see you got the two strong ladies Bette and Joan.



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Never mind, I actually Googled it and this came up...

Actress Bette Davis' performance in Dark Victory (1939), was dubbed by Queer theorist Eve Sedgwick as "the epistemology of the closet".[28] Davis' portrayal of the melodramatic Judith Traherne made her talent for playing someone with a secret revered and her "camp-worthy" dialog reflexive of the "flamboyant gay queen of the dramatic arts".[28] Ed Sikov, author of Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis, comments twentieth century gay men developed their own subculture following Davis' example.[28]
Wikipedia's article on "gay icons"

The more I know.



will.15's Avatar
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Practically every popular actress from the 1940's is a gay icon.



I think Bette Davis is incredible. She's one of my favorites too. Her work in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is some of the best female screen acting I've seen.

If you want a good overlooked Davis movie, check out The Petrified Forest with Humphrey Bogart and Leslie Howard.
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will.15's Avatar
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Betty Grable? Deanna Durbin? Ann Sheridan?
Not those.

Lauren Bacall. Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner

Okay, not all of them. But if they were tough and bitchy, they were in.



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Ann Sheridan is pretty bitchy in The Man Who Came to Dinner and in that one Davis plays the sweetheart. Maybe if she had gotten more roles like that she would have been a gay icon too. Oh well, a girl can dream! sigh...
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I think Bette Davis is incredible. She's one of my favorites too. Her work in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is some of the best female screen acting I've seen.

If you want a good overlooked Davis movie, check out The Petrified Forest with Humphrey Bogart and Leslie Howard.
Petrifed Forest is great. I'm glad you mentioned it. Still, my favorite Bette Davis role has to be as Margo Channing in All About Eve.

Afraid I haven't seen Dark Victory yet. Being straight and generally disliking melodrama, I've pretty much avoided it. Still, it's a movie that I'm always hearing about, so I should give it a look soon.



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I've seen it. Too frigging depressing. I haven't seen those two movies she made with Miriam Hopkins, who would have been a gay icon, too, if her stardom hadn't faded so quickly.



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A friend just showed up, so I'll have to return to add comments. Feel free to add your own.







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We're awfully free and easy with our predictions of who gay men would have gravitated toward if something had happened to cause them to gravitate toward them but didn't so they didn't.

I really think the question is more complicated, gay men's culture more interesting and varied and worth discussing in detail, and the stars themselves more multifaceted. Isn't it kind of insulting to us to say, Oh, yes, Miriam would have been a gay icon too if only....

Why? Because she was a bitch? Or, in Bette's term, "a pig"?

She isn't a gay icon she didn't become one, that's it.



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To me Bette Davis was the best female screen star in movies, i love anything she was in, no one can take her place.
tell me what you think about Bette Davis.

I adore Bette too. My all time favorite with her is Now, Voyager (1942). She's quit amazing as the emotional abused daughter who breaks down and eventually grows into a strong, compassionate woman.

I'm going to assume you've already seen All About Eve (1950), since that seems to be a popular film that is frequently shown on TV. She's so fabulous....and it has such a s great cast too.

Some of my other favorites are....

The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
The Little Foxes (1941)
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
Jezebel (1938)
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
The Catered Affair (1956)
The Letter (1940)
Deception (1946)
Old Acquaintance (1943)
The Old Maid (1939)
All This, and Heaven Too (1940)


NAZIE...which of her movies did you like Ms. Davis in?



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I'm sorry that I didn't respond sooner. Bette Davis rose up during the Pre-Code days and made several prestige pictures with Warner Bros. before they offered her a seven-year contract. Now, I'm not one to denigrate the concept of her as a "gay icon", but before she ever achieved that, she was a feminist icon. Even though under contract, she refused a role because she thought it was beneath her, and she even tried to go make films in England to break her contract. Well, she sued Warner Bros. and lost, but Bette ultimately won because she got every film role she wanted after that, except for Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind which was almost duplicated by her Oscar-winning performance in Jezebel. Bette Davis was so good in so many different kind of roles that it was scary. It's true that there were other actresses who could match her range quite often. (Barbara Stanwyck comes to mind.) However, Bette was the top-drawer dramatic actress of the late '30s until somewhere around the middle '40s when another renegade actress, Olivia de Havillland probably took over the mantle of Queen of the Dramas (and she also sued Warner Bros. and won her case over being treated as Hollywood property).

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Most people have probably heard Kim Carnes' song "Bette Davis Eyes", and she did have eyes to die for. Although she was never considered a beauty (I personally found her killer sexy), she was definitely one of the most-striking actresses around. The thing which people don't get enough chances to see is the relaxed Bette of The Man Who Came to Dinner, at least when she can get away from Sheridan Whiteside. Then there's the hilarious Bette in the romantic comedy It's Love I'm After where she and Leslie Howard are engaged Shakespearean actors, but young Olivia de Havilland falls for him and will do anythng in the world to be near him. That one is one of the best screwball comedies of the '30s, but since it's not on DVD, its hilarity is rarely discussed.



All About Eve brought Bette back to the forefront of movie actresses, but after that, she pretty much settled into playing older women (well, she was in her 40s) and historical personages such as Elizabeth I. My fave post-Margo Channing performance of Bette's is in my fave film about a wedding, Paddy Chayefsky's The Catered Affair, directed by Richard Brooks. Bette is married to cabby Ernest Borgnine but when their daughter Debbie Reynolds announces her imminent marriage to boyfriend Rod Taylor, Momma wants to give her a big wedding do, even if the family cannot afford it, and it will cause hurt feelings among those who may not get invited. It's a deeply-honest film about family which is also quite funny.



As far as Bette's 1960s flicks, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? with Joan Crawford and the lesser Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte with Olivia de Havilland, both directed by Robert Aldrich and written by Lukas Heller, they're worth seeing to watch how some big old-time stars compete and mostly top Roger Corman and William Castle at their own games. I've posted these before, but I'm guessing that most people haven't seen them. Here are some of my fave Bette Davis quotes, all about Joan Crawford. (Sorry, Joan!)

"Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it's because I'm not a bitch. Maybe that's why [Miss Crawford] always plays ladies."

"I wouldn't piss on her if she was on fire."

"[Joan Crawford] has slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie."

"You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good... Joan Crawford is dead. Good."



Thanks Mark. Those quotes are hysterical. I wonder if she was the first to utter the; "I wouldn't piss on her if she was on fire" line.

What happened between her and Crawford?
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I haven't really researched it, but knowing how witty Bette Davis was, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts (HA! no I didn't create that quote) that she probably was the original quoter or is it quotist... of the piss to put out fire quote. They obviously butted heads over and over at Warner Bros., and Joan was always known as "a lady", but I'm not sure what pushed Bette to try to "illuminate" Joan to us poor, ignorant, money-paying slobs. (Well, I've paid money to see both actresses at the movies and in my own home.)



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"Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it's because I'm not a bitch. Maybe that's why [Miss Crawford] always plays ladies."

"I wouldn't piss on her if she was on fire."

"[Joan Crawford] has slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie."

"You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good... Joan Crawford is dead. Good."
For someone who claimed not to be a bitch, those are pretty bitchy comments she made about Joan Crawford...funny, but bitchy.