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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bette Davis Eyes

There is no one that does Bette Davis eyes better than Ruth Elizabeth Davis. Her ability to look her co star square in the face, flash those eyes and appear innocently dangerous allows the viewer to love and hate her at the same time. Like Ms. Lauren Bacall, Ms. Davis has some of the most quoted and memorable lines in movie history. "Its going to be a bumpy ride" is used often in American jargon. 

Along with other Hollywood elites, Ms. Davis participated in activities to assist in the war efforts. Using her celebrity to sell war bonds and partnering in the HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN.

Several of her films are on my top 20 list of films to be watched again every few years. 

"Petrified Forest" (1936) - Incredibly moody, taking place mainly on one set, this film stars Davis along with Humphrey Bogart and Leslie Howard. Bette is costumed by Orry-Kelly, which allows another level of ethereal drama to the character.

"Mr. Skeffington" (1944) - Rarely do I have a problem stating the book is so much better than the film. In this case its a toss up - Doesn't matter which way you do it, read or watch first, they are equally enjoyable. Just look at the dangerous innocence in her eyes, Bette becomes the beautiful gold digging Mrs. Skeffington, completely unashamed of her desires and yet so unaware of there being a problem with these attitudes.

"All About Eve" (1950) - Filled with terrific performances, I'm admittedly a little bit distracted by Marilyn's few moments on screen as well as the surrounding cast, Thelma Ritter, Gary Merrill, Celeste Holm and the elegant George Sanders. Happy go lucky actress or stressed out star, Bette lilts from emotion to emotion with grace. Putting on her game face seems torturous yet the characters knowledge and determination carries over again through subtle changes in her face.

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