Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bette Davis in "Beyond the Forest"

Bette Davis was one of the best actresses working, responsible for such classic performances as Mildred in “Of Human Bondage”, Regina Giddens in “The Little Foxes” and Margo Channing in “All About Eve”.

Rosa Moline in “Beyond the Forest” was arguably her worst performance.

40-ish Bette stomps around picturesque Loyalton, “Wisconsin” snarling one liners, chain-smoking and shooting small animals (“They irritate me” she sneers). Young Rosa is unhappily married to the town Doctor (Joseph Cotton), a do-gooder whom she despises for his lack of desire to actually collect his fees. She’s hot for Chicago Industrialist Neil Latimer (David Brian) and the rich, big city life she feels is her due. Needless to say, she’s willing to do anything, anything to get it. And does, to unintentionally hilarious effect.

The movie is considered a camp classic: Bette is, as she said herself far too old for the role and cranks her personal acting switch up to 11, perhaps to try to make us not think about the plot, which has holes large enough to pilot that Chicago-bound train she’s always mooning over through. It doesn’t help that it’s directed by King “subtlety? never heard of it” Vidor who gives her free reign and matches her with directorial choices that redefine “over the top”.

But, if you’re a fan of these sort of eye-popping things you won’t be disappointed. I wasn’t.

Long unavailable except on overpriced VHS tape, someone posted it to YouTube in 10 minute increments. Click on above to watch, before someone makes them take it down.

Video Source: YouTube

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