Friday, April 6, 2012

She's Got Bette Davis Eyes*

Yesterday, in honor of what would have been the star's 104th birthday, (remember when it used to be a print magazine? No? Yeah, I guess I don't really ever recall seeing it on newsstands either, but it's still pretty iconic) posted some unpublished photos from a cover story they did in 1939 on two-time Academy Award winner, Bette Davis.

I love how one of the captions from the article reads:
"Informality is her keynote. She does her own nails, answers the phone herself, is happiest in shorts or slacks."
Apparently magazines have been spinning that whole 'stars are just like us' story since the beginning of time. But, in this same article is a picture of her being wheeled around in a sun chair by a servant and sunbathing in some sort of sun-tent enclosure. You know, just like everyone else. And I love that the fact that she answers the phone is a sign that she's laid-back. But, at the time of this article, Bette had already received her Best Actress Oscars for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938), and was Warner Brothers' biggest star. So, I guess people really did need to be reminded what a casual-corner kinda gal she was. And it kinda differs from the image that most have of her now as a chain-smoking ol' broad getting into cat-fights with frenemy, Joan Crawford (Where's the biopic about their relationship?).

I must confess that looking over Bette's filmography, I've only seen two of her movies (All About Eve and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?). She received 10 Oscar nominations in the course of her career (unofficially 11. When she wasn't nominated for Of Human Bondage in 1934, there was such outrage that she was given a write-in vote. She always felt her win the next year was a consolation prize. I guess some things never change...) and really was one of those stars whose celebrity was based on the fact that she actually could act. I really should watch more of her films. For her fans out there, what are your favorite Bette Davis films? What films do you consider to be Bette Essentials?

* I promised myself I wasn't going to name this post that. Obviously, you see I came up with nothing better...

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