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Jezebel (1938)

Bette Davis , Henry Fonda , William Wyler  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Crisp
  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2000
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RF99
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,330 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jezebel" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Bette Davis plays a self-involved southern belle whose neurotic attempts to mold her fiance (Henry Fonda) to her own designs eventually bring about her tragic downfall. Co-stars George Brent and Fay Bainter. Year: 1938 Director: William Wyler Starring: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Davis shines as a strong-willed Southern belle July 9, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
"Jezebel," directed by William Wyler, opens in New Orleans in 1852. The film tells the story of Miss Julie, a strong-willed Southern belle played with passion and flair by the great Bette Davis. Miss Julie's tempestuous relationship with a handsome gentleman (played by Henry Fonda) is played out in the shadow of both social controversies and a yellow fever epidemic.
"Jezebel" is a superbly produced period piece. The opulent sets and costumes, along with the romantic musical score, contribute well to the overall feel of the film. The black-and-white cinematography is breathtaking; Davis looks positively luminous in many scenes.
The excellent Davis gets solid support from the rest of the excellent cast. But make no mistake: this is Davis' picture, and she commands the screen from her first scene. Her Miss Julie is a flawed but fascinating woman.
This is a thought-provoking film on many levels. The portrayal of Southern culture as strange and alien to Northerners, the fetishization of Southern womanhood (a "frail, delicate chalice," as one male character puts it), the references to the abolitionist controversy, and the depiction of the relationships between black servants and white masters are all fascinating elements in the film, and richly ironic. "Jezebel" is one Hollywood classic that remains compelling and, I believe, open to new critical interpretations.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A landmark Warner's production July 11, 2006
Format:DVD
"Jezebel" was an extrememly important production in 1938 for Warner Brothers. The studio was renowned for its earthy urban stories "torn from the headlines". At the same time, during the mid thirties, it developed a series of mainly second rate "weepies" for Kay Francis, a limited but attractive star who became type cast playing suffering heroines.

With the advent of Bette Davis as a new type of actress, a personality who really wanted to "act", the studio, once they acknowledged both how ambitious and dedicated Davis was, developed her Box Office potential through a series of first rate roles in essentially second rate films such as "Bordertown", "Dangerous" and "Marked Woman". By 1938, they pulled out all stops for Davis with "Jezebel" and so elevated their own status as a studio capable of superb first rate productions, targeted at the female audience. Now they could rank with MGM as a purveyor of quality products in all departments.

To demonstrate their commitment, they imported William Wyler from Goldwyn Studios to direct Davis and assigned a large budget. The film is set in the deep south, complete with magnolias, slaves etc and dripping accents by all. Davis plays the willful Julie Marsden who defies southern conventions and manners and in doing so loses the love of her life, played by Henry Fonda. He marries another and she schemes to get him back, but in doing so causes the death of George Brent in a duel. Davis, however, redeems herself by the end of the film as she learns self sacrifice. The plot probably does not warrant the superb treatment Wyler gives it. The quality of the production elevates the drama immeasurably.

The film was a precursor of "Gone with the Wind" and Davis won her second Oscar for this performance.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Restored Masterpiece - Jezebel, A Joy to Behold. December 17, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Probably (excluding All About Eve) the finest pictures Bette Davis made were under the direction of the great William Wyler. And Davis never looked better than in this film.
Despite sterling performances from Henry Fonda and George Brent, Fay Bainter and Spring Byington, Henry O'Neil and Donald Crisp, Jezebel is really Davis' movie as the camera caresses her in close ups time and again, and she rewards it's attention with an A - class performance.
Davis also made The Letter and The Little Foxes under Wyler's direction, she loved working with him, his attention to detail, her preparedness to redo scenes over and again until the Master was satisfied (Wyler was known to demand take after take - in some cases, 50 or 60 times - until he got what he was looking for) and of course, the finished product.
Jezebel was made in 1938 as Warner Bros wanted to cash in on the success of the book form of Gone With The Wind, a best seller - and another story of the fall of the South and a headstrong woman whose stubborn streak costs her the man she loves - and get Jezebel out in the theatres before GWTW which was in pre-production, when Jezebel was being shot.
Jezebel is actually set before the Civil War (unlike GWTW) in the early 1850's when the South was a thriving place, and men held great store in their honour,and women well versed in meeting the strictly defined code of dress and behaviour that was so fundamental to life in the Olde South.
For reasons known only to herself, Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) decides to ignore such boundaries and when fiance Preston Dillard (Henry Fonda)arrives to take her to the ball, he finds, to his horror that she has chosen to wear a red gown instead of the white one society expects her as a single woman to wear.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes, Men Aren't Interested in a Woman in Red September 21, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Yes, that's the lesson poor Julie (Bette Davis) has to learn in this antebellum South soaper. Because she is too impetuous for her own good, she decides to toy with fiance Pres (Henry Fonda) by wearing a vampish red dress to New Orleans' Olympus Ball, where unmarried gals such as herself are supposed to wear white. But her ploy backfires when she becomes uneasy at the dance; however, his own strong temper makes him make her waltz with him, even though all the other dancers desert the floor. Then, he dumps her, sick of her game-playing. A year passes, and the duly abashed Julie gets news that Pres is finally back in town from his business concerns up North. Now she gladly will wear that white dress, but hey, who's this little miss he's brung from New York? Could it be...? Yep, you guessed it. Before we're done, there will be yellowjack epidemics, runnings through swamps, shocking duels, and a host of hoop skirts.
Well known for being Bette's consolation prize after losing out in the Scarlett stakes, "Jezebel" is a pretty good movie in its own right. Fay Bainter plays her exasperated aunt, trying to talk sense to her headstrong niece; Donald Crisp is the doctor whose warnings of an impending yellowjack epidemic prove true; George Brent is surprisingly good as a Southerner gent who fights more than one duel over Bette, whom he's sweet on. This is an especially interesting performance, because in movies like "42 Street", you can hear Brent's own native Irish brogue just in check, so his lazy drawl is pretty good here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
if you like gone with the wind... You will love this movie also
Published 10 days ago by Maurice H.
5.0 out of 5 stars especially when it comes to classic films like this one
As an avid movie buff, especially when it comes to classic films like this one, this is a definite welcome to my large and growing home library collection. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Wa2oosy
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed Bette Davis (my favorite actress of her time) and ...
Even though this was a sort of copy cat of Gone With the Wind, I enjoyed Bette Davis (my favorite actress of her time) and Henry Fonda performances. Read more
Published 1 month ago by LuLu
5.0 out of 5 stars I have always loved this film
I have always loved this film! Ms Davis can play such a wonderful, evil, witch. She does her very best at it in this film and, it shows. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hannah Forth
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movies
Great movie they don'tmake them like they used to wonderful actors another good one "The Old maid" Bett Davis just wonderful and last but least is another movie "Gone... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Patricia Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars bette davis at her best
love jezebel. loved henry fonda and bette davis at the olympus ball. thank you love stories of the old south.
Published 4 months ago by patricia keen
5.0 out of 5 stars Bette Davis' Scarlet O'Hara role
This is by far one of Bette Davis' finest performances. Rumor has it she was up for the role of Scarlet O'Hara but turned it down because they had cast Errol Flynn as Rhett Butler. Read more
Published 4 months ago by NHMovieLover
5.0 out of 5 stars Bette Davis' Crowning Performance
Oscar never had it so good being in the hands of this talented lady. This movie provided Bette with a roller coaster of emotions to play and she plays them expertly. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lawrence J. Ukolowicz
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Old Movie
Good movie with good quality for the price. Glad I held off for a good deal before investing more money.
Published 6 months ago by Linda
4.0 out of 5 stars There Were Worse Women
Bette Davis won her second and last Oscar for the lead in this 1938 film, adapted from the stage (where Bette's loathed adversary Miriam Hopkins played the lead) and she is superb. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Charles Lempriere
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