Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert, Deanna Durbin, Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall, Ingrid Bergman, Janet Leigh, Jean Seberg, Joanne Woodward, John Gilbert, Kim Novak, Laurence Olivier, Lizabeth Scott, Melvyn Douglas, Monique classique, Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Rosalind Russell, Tony Curtis, Vivien Leigh
Bette Davis, Charlton Heston, Clark Gable, David Niven, George Brent, George Sanders, Gone With the Wind, Grace Kelly, Hedy Lamarr, Jean Harlow, Judy Garland, Lana Turner, Linda Darnell, Lizabeth Scott, Marilyn Monroe, Monique classique, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth, Robert Taylor, Vivien Leigh
A wonderful production and a screen version of the excellent homonymous novel written by Karel J. Benes, “A Stolen Life” is another splendid accomplishment of the fine actress Bette Davis. Co-starring the young Glenn Ford, Davis simply steals the show with her impressive performance of the twin sisters who fall in love with the same man. Kate is a talented painter, capable to love and to be generous to others, while Patricia is a selish, very superificial and vivid woman. Kate’s unscrupulous sister marries Bill, but in the end she pays a high price for all her sins, as she is drowned in an accident. Not being able to rescue Patricia’s life, Kate assumes her identity in order to be together with the love of her life. Only in the end the whole truth is discovered. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Effects, Special Effects, but Bette Davis deserved a nomination, as well, because she was simply magnificent in all the scenes in which she makes the transition between two physically similar sisters, but psychologically, very different. You will certainly love this film, another gem in the career of Bette Davis, directed by the gifted, but lesser-known Curtis Bernhardt.
One of the great classics of Bette Davis, “Mr. Skeffington” is a very complex and interesting drama. It tells the story of a beautiful, but very selfish and pragmatic woman who marries an old, wealthy Jewish businessman to save her beloved brother from an embezzlement charge. The action happens in the years before and after WWI. When her brother dies on the front, Fanny decides to separate from her husband, even if they never divorce. She abandons their only daughter, who spends her childhood and adolescence with her father, in Europe. When Hitler comes to power, her father is taken to a concentration camp, losing all his fortune, while Fanny, now an old woman, cannot accept the fact that she is no longer beautiful. Her life gets complicated even more when all of a sudden her daughter returns to her house and falls in love with one of her mother’s “beaux”. In the end, Fanny realizes that Job Skeffington is the only man who truly loves her and destiny makes them reunite and spend the rest of their lives together. So, Fanny has the chance to admit her mistakes and to correct them, but again only for her selfishness, because she doesn’t want to remain a lonely, old and sick woman, as her daughter leaves her to marry the man she loves. The story is, as I said, very complicated. It covers several decades, and it’s incredible how well made Davis the transition from a lovely young woman to a painfully sick and decrepit lady. Claude Rains, one of her frequent co-stars (you should also see “Now, Voyager”) was excellent in the role of her husband, but Davis is simply superb. They both earned an Oscar nomination, but unfortunately didn’t win. All in all, these classical dramas of Bette Davis from the 1940s emphasize best her enormous talent. She was a professional and one of the greatest actresses of all time, together with Joan Crawford, her constant rival, who excelled, too, in this kind of dramatic roles.