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Bette Davis , Henry Fonda , Lloyd French , Tex Avery    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Bette Davis didn't get to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, but she did get to play a troublesome Southern belle in William Wyler's 1938 Jezebel. Davis's character, a coquette fond of stirring up rivalries among the men, goes too far and loses her fiancé (Henry Fonda), but she finds atonement when she cares for him during illness. This handsome melodrama by Wyler (who later directed Davis in The Little Foxes) is fully absorbing (John Huston contributed to the script), and Davis's carefully constructed performance does make one draw instant comparisons with Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind. The DVD release has the theatrical trailer, closed captioning, optional Spanish soundtrack, and optional subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. --Tom Keogh

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oscar-Winning, Oscar-Deserving. Excellent. March 11 2004
Poor Jack Warner. Imagine having to be the man who denied Bette Davis the role of Scarlett O' Hara. Imagine Bette's rage at the success of that particular picture. Imagine poor Jack's mind working nineteen tot he dozen, desperately searching for something, ANYTHING, to appease the wrath of The Davis.
Happily, Jack Warner came up with this: a 1938 movie about a spoilt southern Belle whose willful machinations eventually lose her the man whom she truly adores.
In my opinion, this is quite possibly Bette Davis' best ever moment in motion pictures. As Jezebel, she is old enough and established as an actress to bring real depth and credibility to the role, while being young enough so as not have established the Davis Trademarks to demean the role with. Playing the part of Julie Marsden, the titular Jezebel, Davis displays a rare understated pathos and a real sense of connection to her role. As with Regina Giddens in 'The Little Foxes', Bette's mastery of her craft is best displayed in the role of Julie. She is an emotional powerhouse, and the 'Let's raise a Ruckus' scene, as well as the final scenes of the picture, showcase that Oscar-winning mastery beautifully.
Henry Fonda is totally acceptable as the henpecked, hapless Preston Dillard, and in places gives a performance to match Bette's own. Other impressive supporting cast turns come in the shape of Margaret Lindsay as Yankee interloper Amy Bradford Dillard and the always-excellent Fay Bainter as Aunt Belle Massey.
Direction for the period is superior, too. Paced perfectly and beautifully photographed, William Wyler (whose talent is surely the only one to rival Joe L.
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5.0 out of 5 stars She's a jezebel Feb. 23 2007
Since Warner Bros. rushed "Jezebel" to beat "Gone with the Wind," it's probably going to be forever known as the Southern costume drama that ISN'T "Gone With the Wind."

That's a shame, because "Jezebel" is a wonderful movie in its own right -- it's a smaller, more intimate story about a love triangle, and a girl who loves more than is good for anyone. Bette Davis sweeps away all the other actors in a brilliant performance, right up to the cliffhanger ending.

Julie Marsden (Davis) is a fiery, rebellious Southern Belle, who flouts the propriety that her stuffed-shirt fiancee Preston (Henry Fonda) clings to. But then she shocks everyone by showing up at a white-gown ball in bright red, and Preston breaks it off for good. A year later, he brings his Northern wife Amy (Margaret Lindsay) to New Orleans.

Julie is shocked and angry, and immediately begins planning to somehow win Preston back to her, because "I'm part of you!" But her plots slowly unravel when a friend of Preston's is killed in a duel because of her, and Preston himself is caught in a yellow fever plague.

It's hard to see why anyone compares "Jezebel" to "Gone with the Wind" -- it doesn't pretend to be epic, and it's a simple love triangle with a very different conclusion. What it does have is a lot of passion and fire, and an anti-heroine that isn't seen very often even in modern movies.

This movie is just soaked in the South, to the point of oversaturation. Mint juleps, hoop skirts, and magnolias in the moonlight. Fortunately it has some solid directing as well as atmosphere, such as the scene where Preston whirls the red-clad Julie onto the dance floor. As they sweep into the center of the room, all the other dancers quietly sweep to the edges.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Love Story From Bette Davis Jan. 17 2004
"Jezebel" is a true classic released in 1938. Its plot about a woman, Julie, who loses her fiance, Preston, because of being greedy and manipulative is brilliant. Its powerful theme keeps audiences watching every scene closely. The plot builds up to the end, especially as her former fiance returns after being gone for one year. She's waited so long to beg for his forgiveness. Problem: he's now married. Jelousy begins lingering through every scene, keeping the plot interesting. There is never a dull moment through any movie detail. The intensity builds as yellow fever strikes, which offers a brilliant conclusion.
The set construction and the costume designs are amazingly ahead of their time. Few other movies in 1938 mastered such elaborate settings so flawlessly. Every detail is accurate to the actual 1850's New Orleans style.
Bette Davis deservingly won her Oscar for Best Actress for her role as Julie. She proves as always that she is one of the greatest and most influencial actresses of Hollywood history. Her heart and soul through her character is obvious. Henry Fonda's role as Preston is beautiful. His character's anger and love are expressed to his fullest. In this movie, Davis and Fonda answer why they deserve their legendary status. All other actors, major or minor, also perform their roles wonderfully.
"Jezebel" is a great movie for those looking for a great movie classic and/or a unique love story. This is sure to please audience for many more years to come.
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By forrie
In 1938 Bette Davis was a beautiful captivating actress who auditioned and lost for "Gone With the Wind" like every other female star did, with one difference, she starred in "Jezebel" winning an Oscar for Best Actress the year before.
"Jezebel" like Scarlet manipulated men with her destructive flirtatous desires. The setting was 1852 New Orleans pre-Civil War but abolotionists were abundant & the southern & northern relations were already politically strained. Davis's is outstanding in her role and quite beautiful. Henry Fonda & George Brent are her victims & pawns in her game chess. This movie even today remains as a classic Golden Hollywood film.
Standard Format this Black & White film is a great Warner Brothers picture. Only extra feature is a theatrical trailer. This is a great addition to your DVD library. Enjoy.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What a enjoyable "night at the movies" in our own home
Excellent viewing. The quality of the dvd was terrific! To view such wonderful classics in their glorius black & white production with such clarity is like seeing them for the... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Alex Cameron
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrific performance, pointless and annoying story
The lead character is so very manipulative and knee-jerk reactionary that it's a wonder anyone fellow story charadctput up with her. Read more
Published on July 11 2004 by L. A. Strom
4.0 out of 5 stars Bette Behaves Badly in a Fairly Good Movie
I like this movie, though it is a pale variation of "Gone with the Wind."
Bette Davis is an entertaining vixen, though at times her character Julie seems more like a... Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars A bad movie
When I heard of this movie I couln't wait to see it. ...altogether I was disapointed with this film. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Jezebel-Julie: More Selfish than Evil
Hollywood explored the antebellum south twice in the movies in one year. First JEZEBEL with Bette Davis as the tempestuous Julie, then a year later in GONE WITH THE WIND with... Read more
Published on Dec 27 2002 by Martin Asiner
4.0 out of 5 stars Important feminist film
I watched Jezebel as part of a film studies module at college and actually became reasonably absorbed in it. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2002 by Mr. B. G. Fowler
3.0 out of 5 stars How did this end?
I would probably recommend this movie to a classic movie fan, but not your typical movie watcher. I thought Henry Fonda did a splendid job on his portrayal of Preston; he brought... Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars La Belle Bette
Bette Davis deservedly received the Best Actress award for her portrayal of Julie Marsden, a headstrong Southern belle, in this 1938 film. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2002 by Exguyparis
5.0 out of 5 stars A WOMAN CALLED JEZEBEL...
Warner Bros. supposedly made this film to beat MGM's "Gone With The Wind" to the box office. "Jezebel" doesn't hold a candle to GWTW but it stands firm on it's own merit---that... Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2002 by Mark Norvell
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