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Jezebel (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 26 March 1938 (USA)
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1:56 | Trailer
In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Clements Ripley (screen play), Abem Finkel (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Julie Marsden
Henry Fonda ... Preston Dillard
George Brent ... Buck Cantrell
Margaret Lindsay ... Amy Bradford Dillard
Donald Crisp ... Dr. Livingstone
Fay Bainter ... Aunt Belle Massey
Richard Cromwell ... Ted Dillard
Henry O'Neill ... General Theopholus Bogardus
Spring Byington ... Mrs. Kendrick
John Litel ... Jean La Cour
Gordon Oliver ... Dick Allen
Janet Shaw ... Molly Allen
Theresa Harris ... Zette
Margaret Early ... Stephanie Kendrick
Irving Pichel ... Huger
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Storyline

In one of her most renowned roles, Bette Davis portrays Julie Marsden, a spoiled Southern belle who risks losing her suitor with her impetuous behavior. Engaged to successful banker Preston Dillard, Julie pushes him away with her arrogant and contrary ways, leading to a scandalous scene at a major social event and his subsequent departure. When Preston eventually returns and Julie attempts to win him back, she discovers that it may be too late. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The South's Greatest Romance See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

26 March 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jezabel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The red dress sequence was based on a real-life white ball in Hollywood at which all the women dutifully appeared in white - except for Mrs. MGM, Norma Shearer. Comment from another guest: "Who does Norma think she is - the house madam?" See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, Preston storms up to Julie's bedroom and knocks hard on her door several times with his cane. The head of the cane seemingly leaves numerous dents in the wood. When Julie finally opens the door (inward into the bedroom), the dents have disappeared. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Buck Cantrell: [to cabby] Boy, stop here.
[to Dick]
Buck Cantrell: Might as well get us a bottle.
Dick Allen: Julie'll have plenty to drink at the ball.
Buck Cantrell: Yes, pardon Dick - always messed up with cherries n' such. Come on.
[to cabby]
Buck Cantrell: Wait right here.
Driver: Yes sir, Mr. Cantrell sir.
[Buck and Dick enter the St. Louis Hotel]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are blurred across the screen See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 59th Annual Academy Awards (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
(1862) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Foster
Sung and hummed by Bette Davis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Warner's answer to GWTW
31 January 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Bette Davis is a southern belle whose aunt (Fay Bainter) calls her Jezebel in a moment of supreme disappointment. This is a 1938 film also starring Henry Fonda, George Brent, and Donald Crisp. Bette is Julie Marsden, a brat engaged to Preston Dillard (Fonda). She soon loses him for what appears to be the second time when she wears a red dress to a ball where all the women are in white. Press goes to the north and returns with a wife (Margaret Lindsay). Julie sets out to win him back, with a bad result.

"Jezebel" has many similarities to "Gone with the Wind" - the south, the red dress, the manipulative, strong young woman, her obsession with a man and the disapproval by the family of her actions. The period is the 1850s; the place is Louisiana, where there is an outbreak of the dreaded yellow fever.

Although the film is similar to "GWTW" it stands on its own. It doesn't have the sweeping scope of GWTW. It's the story of one woman's love for a man and the effect it has on those around her. There are some striking scenes: the dance sequence, when Press and Julia are the only ones on the dance floor due to her being in red; and the end is very striking.

Bette Davis is great in the title role. Under William Wyler's direction, it's a restrained performance. It's a good thing because she's appearing opposite the master of underplaying, Henry Fonda. All of the women look stunning in their gowns, Davis in particular. As with Scarlett and Ashley, we don't really know what the attraction is between Julia and Press, and the script doesn't tell us. Fonda seems a little on the dull side for a lively girl like Julia.

Donald Crisp turns in a powerful performance as Dr. Livingstone, and George Brent is very good as the elegant Buck Cantrell.

Highly recommended. One of Davis' best.


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