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The Little Foxes (1941), Bette Davis

I was very impressed by the movie “The Little Foxes”. First, the interesting play by Lillian Hellman about a ruthless clan from 1900 in a small town in Alabama. Second, the extraordinary performance of Bette Davis in the leading role of the evil Regina Giddens. She was simply terrific, as if the part were made for her. I don’t know how it was Tallulah Bankhead’s performance in the original Broadway production, but I think that Bette Davis was the best choice for the screen version. Third, the direction of the gifted William Wyler, who directed Bette Davis in other great successful films, “Jezebel” and “The Letter”. Fourth, the great cast, which also includes Herbert Marshall as Horace Giddens, Regina’s husband, and Teresa Wright as Alexandra Giddens, their daughter. “The Little Foxes” seems like a theatrical play made for the big screen. It is not a typical American film. In some way, it resembles the British films, which are superior to the American films when it comes to acting. This motion picture of the Samuel Goldwyn Productions received 9 Oscar nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Bette Davis), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Teresa Wright and Patricia Collinge, who appeared together also in Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt”), Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, and Best Music. The scenes I liked the most were the ones that involved Bette Davis and Herbert Marshall. They were both superb in the moments where they exchanged ironical and poisonous words. Also their facial expressions, which revealed Regina’s cruelty and Horace’s great pain, were impressive to me. I felt as if I were watching a play at the theatre. Rarely did I see such masterful performances gathered in a single Hollywood film. Others that come to my mind would be “Gone With The Wind”, “Grand Hotel”, “Casablanca”, “The Best Years of Our Lives”… I highly recommend you to watch “The Little Foxes”, another piece of artistry wonderfully made in the land of films that is Hollywood.

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