movie film review | chris tookey
harsh reviews
An A to Z of the World's Deadliest Movie Reviews From Affleck
to Zeta Jones
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Bette Davis
Surely no one but a mother could have loved Bette Davis at the height of her carer.
(Brian Aherne)
Take away the pop eyes, the cigarette, and those funny clipped words and what have you got?
(Joan Crawford)
If I ever get hold of that hag, I’ll tear every hair out of her moustache!
(Tallulah Bankhead)
Actress, Now Voyager (1942)
Strained, suffering and as beautiful as the Warner makeup department can manage, Bette takes a South American cruise and encounters both love and lust. From then on Life (that Torquemada!) really applies the heat, and the emotional agony becomes so intense as to threaten not only the sanity of the shadow-protagonists but that of the spectators as well. It is all desperately slow, shatteringly inane and violently verbose, but certain ladies at the preview wept and sniffed copiously, thereby conclusively proving that Time has not dimmed the truth of Phineas T. Barnum's most famous observation. Miss Davis repeats the same higgledy-piggledy performance that has been consistently lauded by press and public alike.
(Herb Sterne, Rob Wagner’s Script)
Actress, The Corn Is Green (1945)
lt seems to me she is quite limited, which may be no sin but is a pity, and that she is limiting herself beyond her rights by becoming more and more set, official, and first-ladyish in mannerism and spirit, which is perhaps a sin as well as a pity. In any case, very little about her performance seemed to me to come to life, in spite of a lot of experienced striving which often kept in touch with life as if through a thick sheet of glass. To be sure, the role is not a deeply perceived or well-written one, and the whole play seems stolid and weak.
(James Agee, Nation)
Actress, Beyond the Forest (1949)
Miss Davis makes a regrettably melodramatic mess of what is undoubtedly one of the most unfortunate stories she has ever tackled.
Clearly NOT one of Miss Davis's best roles. She permits herself to indulge in a performance of leers, grimaces and body contortions which make the intent clear but the professional judgement behind them cloudy.
(Motion Picture Herald)
Actress, The Scapegoat (1959)
I felt the performances of both Alec Guinness and Bette Davis were bad. I wanted her to play the role I had devised with zest and vitality but she had neither. I was so disappointed with her I can't even remember if I met her. I've just blanked the whole thing out. It was a disaster.
(Daphne du Maurier)
Key to Symbols