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Little Foxes [VHS] (1941)

Bette Davis , Herbert Marshall , William Wyler  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Little Foxes [VHS] + Old Maid [VHS] + Dark Victory [VHS]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright, Richard Carlson, Dan Duryea
  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Writers: Alan Campbell, Arthur Kober, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman
  • Producers: Samuel Goldwyn
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Hbo Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: September 23, 1997
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302452945
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,104 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

William Wyler and Bette Davis made their third and final collaboration their finest with this striking 1941 adaptation of Lillian Hellman's acidic play. The titular foxes are a particularly ravenous turn-of-the-century Southern moneyed clan, the Hubbards, and the most cunning of them all is sister Regina Giddens, the brilliant but ruthless woman played by Davis. In contrast to the manipulative Regina and her scheming brothers (Charles Dingle and Carl Benton Reid) is her guileless sister-in-law Birdie (Patricia Collinge in a delicately flighty performance) and her sickly, humanistic husband Horace (Herbert Marshall), whom she tolerates only for his money and position--until he stands in the way of a scheme that could bring her a fortune. Teresa Wright is the hope of the next generation as Regina's thoughtful daughter, Alexandra, who stands in marked contrast to her graceless, greedy cousin Leo (Dan Duryea). Wyler's longtime cameraman, Gregg Toland, fresh from his groundbreaking work on Citizen Kane, fills the film with amazing deep-focus compositions and razor-sharp images, showing off the grandly handsome mansion set in all its old-world splendor. But for all its beauty Wyler reveals it as a cold, lonely world ruled by a heartless woman. Excellent performances by all make Hellman's sharp dialogue glint like the edge of a knife, which ultimately cuts deep into the soul of this powerful classic. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
A biblical passage about greed tells of hungry foxes prowling vineyards to eat grapes, while the little foxes, too small to reach the grapes, chew on the bases of the vines and destroy them. Greed is the main theme of this magnificent 1941 adaptation of Lillian Hellman's stage play of the same name, the little foxes being the grasping Regina Hubbard Giddons (Bette Davis), who married upright Horace Giddons (Herbert Marshall) for his money, and her equally grasping Hubbard brothers (Carl Benton Reid and Charles Dingle) and nephew (Dan Duryea).

While Horace, the president of Planters Trust, a bank in the deep South, has been recuperating from a serious illness, away from home, his Hubbard brothers-in-law and nephew have been running the bank--and fleecing the poor and the black. Eventually, the Hubbards steal money from the absent Horace in order to become partners in a new cotton mill, but the sickly Horace returns home and discovers the theft, along with the treachery of his wife (Davis). Only his nubile daughter Alexandra (Theresa Wright) is true to his heritage of honesty and generosity of spirit.

As Regina, Davis is a cold-hearted villainess, imperious and demanding, without an ounce of generosity. The very young Teresa Wright, as daughter Alexandra, is her naïve antithesis. Author Hellman, who wrote the screenplay for the film, apparently recognized the need to offer some hope for the younger generation and an upbeat note, creating a new character for the film, David Hewitt (Richard Carlson), a journalist, who is in love with Alexandra. In new scenes in which the two converse, and in scenes at the bank, a rounder picture of human values evolves.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NEGLECTED MASTERPIECE.... December 31, 2002
William Wyler's film of Lillian Hellman's play is a fine old example of masterful filmmaking. Scripted by Hellman, it tells of the ultimate greedy Southern clan circa 1900. Thankfully most of the leading players came from the play with the exception of Bette Davis who assumed the role of Regina---originally played by Tallulah Bankhead---and she is magnificent. Regina is embroiled with her brothers in a greedy and corrupt get-rich-quick scheme to open a cotten mill and needs the final third of the money to come from her ailing husband (a grand Herbert Marshall) who is opposed to the plan with good reason: he's honest and sensible. The brothers are cold, evil and despicable. But Regina is all that and more---she's smarter and greedier. Since Marshall won't give her the money, she withholds his heart medicine and allows him to die knowing she'll get the money now that he's dead. This is an unforgettable scene and there are many in this outstanding film. In contrast to the evil characters, there's Teresa Wright in her film debut as Alexandra---Regina's daughter---who represents innocence and hope and the marvelous Patricia Collinge (from the play) as the sweet, alcoholic and abused sister-in-law Birdie who represents the painful trampling of gentility by corruption and greed. Her performance is heartbreakingly good. Beautiful b&w photography and the recreation of small town Southern life are right on target here. And Davis is at her best as the wicked Regina. She performs feats of acting magic that no other actress could have accomplished in this role. "The Little Foxes" is a must see and a vintage classic that garnered 9 Oscar nominations for 1941. It deserved every one of them. Excellent DVD treatment from MGM as well. A collector's item.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gloriously Atmospheric Moral Fable February 16, 2004
By snalen
Ben and Oscar Hubbard (Charles Dingle and Carl Benton Reid), their sister Regina Giddens (Bette Davis) and Oscar�s son Leo (Dan Duryea) are not nice people. They are a family of profiteering entrepreneurs who have grown to prominence in a small southern town, grabbing the assets of its oldest aristocratic family through Oscar�s cynical marriage to Birdie (Patricia Collinge) who has since been driven to alcoholism by his abusive lovelessness. Ben and Oscar�s latest plot is to do a big deal with a business bigshot from Chicago who is keen to set up a new cotton mill with them on the understanding that the wages will be extremely low. Ben and Oscar are keen. Regina is keen. But Regina can�t come into the deal in her own right: she must persuade her husband to do so. And her husband Horace (Herbert Marshall) is a very different kind of man from her brothers. To complicate matters further he is dying. Meanwhile her daughter Alexandra (Teresa Wright) is getting close to idealistic young journalist David Hewitt (Richard Carlson) and, not, as her scheming relatives intend, to the useless and corrupt young Leo.
This 1941 movie is adapted from a Lillian Hellman�s classic 1939 play of the same year. The dates make it closer enough where we are - an era when the overwhelming political issue in the USA was whether to join a European war against Hitler. It�s not hard to see from this where Hellman�s sympathies lie. The movie�s theme is the division of humanity three ways: the bad people, the good people who fight the bad people and the good people who just sit by and watch the bad people as they destroy the world; and the clearly articulated thought is that, for good people, sitting by and watching, is not, ultimately, an option.
The movie is a classic and richly deserves to be.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Lillian Hellman movie
I love this movie and wanted my sister to see it. Bette Davis is greed personified -- esp relevant in these times of "The 1%"
Published 2 days ago by Maggie Mae
5.0 out of 5 stars Bette Davis We Love You
A great film to watch throughout a rainy day or any day actually. Her character ,Regina, wears very becoming clothes, way too much powder, and a sort of bride of Frankenstein... Read more
Published 1 month ago by willy
5.0 out of 5 stars The seller was fast
I was a little disappointed because I was expecting a DVD, but that is not the sellers fault, it's mine because I didn't look at the description closely enough. Read more
Published 1 month ago by April Stanley
5.0 out of 5 stars Betty Davis never looked better than in this movie
I love B/W movies and this is one of the essentials. Bette Davis plays a heartless villainess set in turn of the century deep South
Published 2 months ago by Donna R.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Little Foxes
I have written a review about this movie twice. I have submited and I don't know why it doesn't "stick". Read more
Published 2 months ago by Martha
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Film Adaptation of a Great Play
This is one of the best films based upon a stage play. The translation from play to film has a ton of energy and the supporting cast (many had created their roles on Broadway) do... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Marc Musnick
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Watch Movie
Bette Davis is awesome as well as unpredictable in multiple scenes. She is cunning, cruel, greedy and of course controlling. I enjoy watching this movie over and over.
Published 4 months ago by Sheila V. Grant
4.0 out of 5 stars Bette again
Bette Davies is always worth watching. This has period atmosphere and although the story is not new - we have seen it many times - it is one of the best.
Published 4 months ago by H. Rink
5.0 out of 5 stars Greed at it's finest.
Bette is quite lethal, calculating and fascinating. As many times as I have seen this, I'm always absorbed throughout. The actors are cast perfectly. Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. Durah
5.0 out of 5 stars "I Do Love 'You' Bette Davis!"
Bette D. is absolutely fantastic as always! For she is a master of her craft. I enjoyed this movie because of her-the perfect actress for her role. She is just splended! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mauriece B.
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do not buy from dvdmagnetic
Yea. They are selling a two cd package for $700.
Jul 24, 2009 by Dylan Gunn |  See all 2 posts
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