Directed by William Wyler • 1938 • United States
Starring Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent
While movie fans were abuzz over who might play Scarlett O’Hara in the upcoming GONE WITH THE WIND, Bette Davis got another southern-belle role—and gave a fiery performance that won the Academy Award for best actress. Davis plays Julie, a New Orleans beauty whose constant attempts to goad fiancé Pres Dillard (Henry Fonda) into jealousy backfire. Angry and disgraced, Pres breaks their engagement and leaves town. Julie endures a year of remorse until Pres comes home—married. Then her vengeance explodes. JEZEBEL boasts sumptuous sets and costumes, an Oscar-winning supporting turn from Fay Bainter, and William Wyler’s vivid direction, highlighted by a horrifying re-creation of a yellow fever epidemic. But the film’s greatest strength is Davis, whose titanic talent here finds its ideal frame.