The Indestructible Bette Davis

Sat, May 11th, 2019 to Sun, Sep 8th, 2019

Ancient Hollywood legend has it that lightning struck an ill-fated tree in front of the Davis house the moment Bette arrived upon this earth, and no novelist or poet could hope for a more fitting opening to a long and storied life for one of cinema's true icons. She would go on to electrify audiences for decades, giving us everything from the conniving gangster molls of her early Warner Brothers days to the mischievious nannies of her later Disney films. This is an actor who fearlessly took on Hollywood's stodgy rules for women by demanding more complicated roles and equal treatment for herself. A fighter to the end, Davis refused to fade into the background as a forgotten former star as so many of her peers were regulated to do, and indeed produced some of her best-loved work when she was well into her later years. As the first actor in history to receive no less than 10 Oscar nominations, Davis brought her unstoppable presence and a penchant for portraying complicated female characters with humanity and sympathy to a number of roles, including a mentally-unstable spinster (NOW, VOYAGER), a fiery, fierce southern bell (JEZEBEL), & even helping us to sympathize with a homicidal twin sister (DEAD RINGER). The ever-sardonic Davis brought a beautifully messy humanity and ferocious conviction to every part she played while blowing open the floodgates for herself, her contemporaries, & women in Hollywood forever, shedding the notion that female characters in films were to be well-behaved and submissive - words that no one would ever use to describe the clash of electricity and furor that was Bette Davis.

The Music Box Theatre is proud to present THE INDESTRUCTIBLE BETTE DAVIS; a 10-film celebration spanning Davis' astonishingly varied career of unforgettable performances, indomitable spirit, demand for respect, & bottomless passion for her work and equal treatment in Hollywood.

“Just watching Bette Davis on the screen was empowering to women. It was like, this is what’s possible, this is the range and depth that is possible for a woman. Enough already with these one-dimensional women. She expanded our range of possibilities.” - Jane Fonda
 
"I think that Bette Davis would probably be burned as a witch if she had lived two or three hundred years ago. She gives the curious feeling of being charged with power which can find no ordinary outlet.” - E. Arnot Robertson

Movies & Showtimes for
The Indestructible Bette Davis

Sat, May 11th
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

11:30AM
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Sun, May 12th
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

11:00AM
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Sat, May 25th
The Cabin in the Cotton

11:30AM
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Sun, May 26th
The Cabin in the Cotton

11:30AM
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Sat, Jun 22nd
Now, Voyager

11:30AM
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Sun, Jun 23rd
Now, Voyager

11:30AM
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Sun, Jul 7th
Satan Met a Lady

11:30AM
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Sat, Jul 20th
Jezebel

11:30AM
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Sun, Jul 21st
Jezebel

11:30AM
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Sat, Aug 3rd
All About Eve

11:30AM
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Sun, Aug 4th
All About Eve

11:30AM
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Sat, Aug 10th
Old Acquaintance

11:00AM
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Sat, Aug 17th
Dead Ringer

11:00AM
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Sun, Aug 18th
Dead Ringer

11:00AM
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All About Eve

A FILM BY: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
WRITTEN BY: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
STARRING: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Marilyn Monroe

"Fasten your seatbelts—it's going to be a bumpy night." Jealousy, manipulation, and betrayal unfold in this tour de force drama of an ambitious wannabe (Anne Baxter) who sets her sights on stealing the spotlight from legendary stage actor Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Insecurities and designer gowns abound as Margo desperately tries to hold onto her friends and career. Nominated for an unprecedented fourteen Academy Awards (to date, one of only three films to hold this record), ALL ABOUT EVE immortalized Davis's screen persona. George Sanders, Celeste Holm, and Marilyn Monroe costar. - George Eastman Museum

Technical Information

Production Year: 1950
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 138 mins
Format: 35mm

The Cabin in the Cotton

A FILM BY: Michael Curtiz
WRITTEN BY: Paul Green
STARRING: Bette Davis, Richard Barthelmess, Dorothy Jordan, Hardie Albright

This pre-Code drama film contains perhaps Bette Davis' most legendary line of dialogue -- "I'd like to kiss ya, but I just washed my hair." Directed by Michael Curtiz (one of their seven collaborations), based on the book written by Harry Harrison Kroll, THE CABIN IN THE COTTON tells the tale of the ever-increasing disparity & mounting tension between wealthy plantation owners, & their poverty-stricken workers. Starring Richard Barthelmess (ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS) as the dissatisfied son of a sharecropper with lofty collegiate dreams, who's gotten himself in hot water with both the plantation owners and workers, & his longtime sweetheart Betty (Dorothy Jordan), and the wildly seductive farmer's daughter, Madge (Bette Davis).

35mm Print Preserved by the Library of Congress

Technical Information

Production Year: 1932
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 78 mins
Format: 35mm

Dark Victory

A FILM BY: Edmund Goulding
WRITTEN BY: Casey Robinson
STARRING: Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, George Brent, Geraldine Fitzgerald

DARK VICTORY is a highly emotional, unforgiving piece of classical cinema about the choices one might make when learning of imminent death. Bette Davis stars in one of her most sensitive and magnetic roles, for which she was again nominated for an Academy Award—a regular occurrence by 1939. As Judith (a role originated on Broadway by Tallulah Bankhead), Davis plays a young Long Island socialite with a carefree attitude toward life, who suddenly begins to experience unexpected accidents that lead to a very serious diagnosis by a brain researcher Dr. Frederick Steele (George Brent). When Judith learns the truth—following her engagement to Steele—she realizes that she must try to enjoy life before it's unceremoniously taken from her. DARK VICTORY, a gut-wrenching yet crucial film from Hollywood's most storied year, is, "even by the standards of a typical Bette Davis melodrama...an embarrassment of riches."— Keith Uhlich

Technical Information

Production Year: 1939
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 104 mins
Format: 35mm

Dead Ringer

A FILM BY: Paul Henreid
WRITTEN BY: Albert Beich, Oscar Millard
STARRING: Bette Davis, Karl Malden, Peter Lawford, Philip Carey

What happened to Bette Davis after WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? Her career was reborn. Warner Bros. encored it with another vehicle filled with Baby Jane-like bite and menace: DEAD RINGER, stylishly directed by Davis' NOW, VOYAGER costar Paul Henreid. Davis plays estranged identical twins. Unmarried Edith has no money, no future. Widow Margaret has fabulous wealth – all because of marriage to the man she stole from Edith years ago. Out of long-festering revenge, Edith kills Margaret and takes her place. But new friends and surroundings, a snoopy cop (Karl Malden) who was Edith's beau and the arrival of Margaret's secret lover (Peter Lawford) may expose her masquerade.

35mm collection print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive

Technical Information

Production Year: 1964
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 116 mins
Format: 35mm

Jezebel

A FILM BY: William Wyler
WRITTEN BY: Clements Ripley, Abem Finkel, John Huston
STARRING: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent, Margaret Lindsay

Her role in Wyler's sensitive Antebellum drama garnered Bette Davis the second—and somewhat shockingly, final—Oscar of her burgeoning career, unforgettably playing the careening New Orleans society belle Julie Marsden. Julie is engaged to Preston "Pres" Dillard (Henry Fonda in a particularly headstrong role), a banker in the midst of the biggest deal of his career, who refuses to drop his work obligations at Julie's beck and call. Julie lashes out and Pres, unwilling to capitulate, fights back—most prominently in an unforgettable, lavish Olympus Ball sequence. But in JEZEBEL, where lovers freely quarrel and North-South politics collide, a yellow fever outbreak looms and the couple's fighting soon takes a back seat to more substantial concerns—namely, life and death. In the end, Davis steals the show, for JEZEBEL is "a lurid Deep South women's picture that allows Davis first to scheme then repent: it is lit up by her little girl's conviction—a trash heap glowing at twilight...Now at last she was in her tortured element."— David Thomson

Technical Information

Production Year: 1938
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 104 mins
Format: 35mm

Now, Voyager

A FILM BY: Irving Rapper
WRITTEN BY: Casey Robinson
STARRING: Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper

Dowdy, repressed spinster Charlotte (Bette Davis, with support from her untamed eyebrows) of the patrician Vale family is on the verge of a mental breakdown, thanks largely to her overbearing mother (Gladys Cooper). With the help of avuncular psychiatrist Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains), Charlotte's wilting flower begins to blossom, sparking a trajectory of self-improvement that lands her on a pleasure cruise. Onboard, her newfound confidence becomes enmeshed with unhappily married Jeremiah Duvaux Durrance (Paul Henreid). Fondly remembered for suggestive moments of Henreid lighting two cigarettes, one for himself and one for Davis, NOW, VOYAGER could be the Rosetta Stone of the self-sacrificial women's picture. - UCLA

Technical Information

Production Year: 1942
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 117 mins
Format: 35mm

Old Acquaintance

A FILM BY: Vincent Sherman
WRITTEN BY: John Van Druten, Lenore J. Coffee
STARRING: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Gig Young, John Loder

Childhood frenemies reunite when author Kit Marlowe (Bette Davis) forges a homecoming on her book tour, where housewife Millie Drake (Miriam Hopkins) lives a simple existence. Inspired by her friend's newfound fame—and likely driven by jealousy—Millie embarks on her own writing career, finding overnight success with a series of pulpy romances. Unfolding over 20 years at breakneck speed through multiple histrionic episodes, OLD ACQUAINTANCE lends new meaning to the phrase "high-maintenance friend." - UCLA

35mm collection print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive

Technical Information

Production Year: 1943
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 110 mins
Format: 35mm

Satan Met a Lady

A FILM BY: William Dieterle
WRITTEN BY: Brown Holmes
STARRING: Bette Davis, Warren William, Alison Skipworth, Arthur Treacher

While investigating the mysterious death of his partner (Porter Hall), detective Ted Shane (Warren William) becomes embroiled in a competitive search for the infamous Horn of Roland, desired by a femme fatale (Bette Davis), an Englishman, an old woman and her son. SATAN MET A LADY was the second of three adaptations of the same material that would ultimately culminate in its finest moment with John Huston's 1941 THE MALTESE FALCON. With its goofy mystery machinations & comedic overtones, SATAN feels more in the vein of THE THIN MAN than the bleak, hard-boiled Huston film that would follow. With lines like "After I've cleared up a couple murders, you and I could have lots of fun.", plus Davis chewing it up as the femme fatale, SATAN is an admittedly silly, but oft-delightful curioso mystery film.

35mm preservation print courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive

Technical Information

Production Year: 1936
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 74 mins
Format: 35mm

A Stolen Life

A FILM BY: Curtis Bernhardt
WRITTEN BY: Catherine Turney , Margaret Buell Wilder
STARRING: Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, Dane Clark, Walter Brennan

A STOLEN LIFE was the first movie produced by Bette Davis' production company B. D. Productions. Bette Davis plays twin sisters Kate and Patricia Bosworth. In a picturesque New England town Kate meets handsome lighthouse inspector Bill Emerson (Glenn Ford). Their chemistry is instantaneous & electric! The next day he meets the more glamorous Pat and mistakes her for a 'dressed up' Kate. Once the identities of the sisters is sorted out Bill finds himself caught between the warring siblings. Fate intervenes when the sisters go sailing together in an attempt to bury the hatchet, but a sudden storm has different plans & only one sister shall return... Will Kate be able to convince the already befuddled Bill that she's actually Pat? Join us for one of Bette's greatest -- but not only -- dual-performances as embittered twin sisters battling for their heart's desires. 

Technical Information

Production Year: 1946
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 109 mins
Format: 35mm

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

A FILM BY: Robert Aldrich
WRITTEN BY: Lukas Heller
STARRING: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Wesley Addy

***Saturday - 11:30am | Sunday - 11:00am***

After years of jealousy and resentment, sisters and aged former actresses Blanche (Joan Crawford) and 'Baby' Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) now live together in the same mansion. Beginning to suffer from mental illness, Jane begins to torment Blanche, who is confined to a wheelchair in her room, culminating in disaster for the two sisters. The film's sibling rivalry is fierce and tense, intensified by the actresses' own infamous rivalry with one another. - DocFilms

Technical Information

Production Year: 1962
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 134 mins
Format: 35mm

Music Box Theatre

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