Directed by William Wyler • 1941 • United States
Starring Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright
Lillian Hellman’s venomous stage play gets a sterling adaptation courtesy of William Wyler and Bette Davis. She’s at her icy, commanding best as the scheming matriarch of an old-money southern family who will stop at nothing to profit from a new cotton mill, even if it means betraying her own clan. Shot in sumptuous deep-focus style by the great Gregg Toland and performed to the hilt by a cast that includes Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright, and Dan Duryea, this claws-out melodrama is a viciously entertaining portrait of a family tree that rots at the roots.