Just a few hours ago I was about to look on YouTube to find some interesting videos to spend the afternoon watching, interviews of classic movie stars and the like. It suddenly occurred to me that I could search "The Little Foxes" just to see what came up, and just as if it was put there for me personally, there was the entire film in neat ten and a half minute parts. I had been wanting to see this for ages, but on amazon it costs about £12 rather than the usual £3 for an old movie, and I thought I would just have to wait until Christmas. Well, even if I had had to wait until Christmas it would have been well worth the wait.
I'm not about to explain the whole complicated plot, but the basic storyline is this. Regina Giddens (Bette Davis at her most evil) tricks everyone into giving her what she wants. Even her husband (Herbert Marshal), who is in hospital with severe heart trouble, gives her whatever she asks for. When her brothers start to form a plan to partner up with a cotton manufacturer to make a mill near the cotton fields in their neighbourhood, she jumps at the opportunity to "make it big". She plans to force her husband into making the decision, but her plans take a turn for the worse when her suffering husband refuses to invest. Alongside this is the fact that her daughter (Teresa Wright, Mrs. Miniver) is turning out to be the complete opposite of her vindictive mother.
Wow. This is a pretty fantabiedoobie film. I didn't expect it to be so well put together, and the script by Lillian Hellman is great. She wrote the stage version that was a vehicle for Tallulah Bankhead, who hated Bette Davis because she was more successful in her roles when they were turned into films than she was in the plays (she played Judith Traherne in Dark Victory on stage), but more on that in another post. I thought the costumes were fabulous (even if Bette thought they should have been less fancy considering that the Giddens family was suffering financially), they were all very intricate and the costume in one crucial scene for Bette Davis conveys the conniving, calculating hideous thing that she does extremely well. When I remember that scene I remember her face and the stiff dress she wears best.