Bette Davis turns 100 years old 4


BetteDavis_468x598To celebrate the occasion, we attended a LACMA double-bill of two of Davis’s late-career outings (post-All About Eve and pre-Baby Jane). We watched in morbid fascination the divine Ms. D chomp both the scenery and her hunky co-star, Sterling Hayden, in The Star.

Davis plays a washed-up movie celeb who tries, fails, and ultimately succeeds to transition from Hollywood stardom to “real life.” Part of her reality-check includes a brief stint behind the lingerie counter at the May Company on Crenshaw Blvd. She alienates every single customer, of course.

Bette Davis a sales clerk? Oh please.

Lots of great b/w L.A. location shots in this 1952 film.

LACMA’s second feature, The Catered Affair, is the basis of a Harvey Fierstein musical now on Broadway. Film features Davis as a dumpy Bronx housewife inexplicably married to taxi driver Ernest Borgnine. This unlikely couple somehow spawns a fetching daughter in the form of the adorable (very young) Debbie Reynolds. When Young Missy becomes engaged, Mama Davis is determined to give her kid the wedding she herself never had — no matter who she mows down in the process. Paddy Cheyevsky’s marvelous script makes this b/w film from 1956 great viewing.

Bravo Bette Davis! Happy 100th Birthday!

4 thoughts on “Bette Davis turns 100 years old

  1. Holly Wallace Jun 18,2008 1:19 pm

    Spectacular blog Debra – you’re a star!

    (Worked on the home video release of this film at Warner Bros. and went through the still archives – such glamorous photos of the incomparable Miss Davis!).

    Here’s to your arts & culture coverage – cheers!

    All best, Holly

  2. Virginia Beckwith Jun 15,2008 8:42 am

    Thank you for taking the time to creatively share your cultural experience and knowledge with us. We look forward to the next installment.
    But for now, we are off to see if we can find the two Bette Davis films mentioned on your blog celebration of her 100th.
    Ginger and Richard Beckwith

  3. Evan Murphy Jun 15,2008 8:04 am

    Hey, I found it. Cool blog–the presentation (i.e. color scheme, skin, composition) is really sharp. It’ll be interesting to see this grow.

    Nice meeting you last night.


  4. Rick Jun 9,2008 7:22 pm

    Congrats on the blog. I look forward to reading more about your adventures and thoughts.

    I still remember seeing Bette Davis when I was in college at UCLA. She was signing at Tower Records in Westwood, and I shot photos of her for the Daily Bruin. I also got a couple of autographs from her. She signed an album cover of her singing, which I was honored to receive, but with all due respect to her, it was truly horrible singing. Maybe if I listened again I’d feel differently. It’s been awhile.

    If you want to see many more celebrity autographs I’ve collected over the years, and my sketches of them, check out my website.


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