Justin Timberlake is bringing sexy back and I'm bringing Bette Davis back to my screen.
On a rainy August day on the east coast while pondering what to do inside, I decided to watch as many of her films I could get my hands on. It always surprises me to think about just how much she contributed to an era of filmmaking -- gracing screens large and small from the 1930s to the 1980s.
I hope you are familiar with the song "She's Got Bette Davis Eyes" written by Jackie DeShannon and Donna Weiss and performed by Kim Carnes. The inspiration for the song is said to have come from Davis' heart-wrenching film Now Voyager. Ms Davis also made an appearance in Madonna's song "Vogue" -- following a series of nods to Hollywood greats the section ends with "Bette Davis, we love you."
All About Eve is one of my favorite films -- not just because of the powerful and timeless story, rich character texture and cutting conversations -- it's because of Bette Davis. The film ranks number sixteen on the American Film Institute's 100 GREATEST AMERICAN MOVIES OF ALL TIME and Ms Davis ranks as the number two actress on their list of 50 GREATEST AMERICAN SCREEN LEGENDS.
Next on my list of favorites are Now Voyager, The Little Foxes, Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Bette Davis had range -- she played it all and two of her characters ended up as a top villains on the AFI list of Heroes and Villains. Her film Now Voyager appears on the list of the greatest Love Stories of all time and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane on the Most Thrilling list.
Bette Davis made lots of "lists" and has also uttered one of the most memorable lines in classic Hollywood cinema -- as the character Margo Channing "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!" She gave us a thrilling ride through her characters and left us an incredible fifty-plus year legacy - on and off the screen. She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for film and the other for television and in 2008 the United States Post Office honored her with a postage stamp.
The late Elaine Stritch said of Ms Davis "Bette Davis taught Hollywood to follow an actress instead of the actress following the camera, and she's probably the best movie actress there's ever been."
So, if you want to know more about her, of course watch her films but you should also read some of her quotes as well -- here is my favorite: "Today everyone is a star -- they're all billed as 'starring' or 'also starring.' In my day, we earned that recognition" -- Bette Davis