Bette Davis Will Never Be Forgotten

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 12th Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Celebrities>Authors

I love watching Turner Classic Movies to get reacquainted with the old Hollywood stars. One of my favorites is Bette Davis.

Turner Classic Movies

I love Turner Classic Movies because I am a classic movie fan. I find myself watching that channel all day and night long. I can't get enough of it.

I love learning about the old stars most of whom have passed on. Some of them I know and some of them I am just being introduced to. I don't know of any other television station which can give me this.

Bette Davis is one of my all-time favorite actresses. I remember her from watching her as child with my grandmother on black and white TV. She had spirit and wasn't afraid to take on roles that were risky; putting her in a bad light with the public.

She had spunk. She wasn't afraid to play roles where she was considered a villain. Jezebel is one such movie.

I think there will never be another Bette Davis to grace our lives with wonderful films which stretch the gamut of over minds and the human condition

Bette Davis Interview

Last night between writing which is usually how I watched TV I saw an interview of Bette Davis. I didn't catch the name of the interviewer but it looked like it was filmed in the 1970s.

Bette Davis shared a lot with the host. The host, asked Bette why she never made a movie with certain actors at the time and she said she couldn't . She explained that in those days actors were not free as they are today to take any role, they had to contract with one motion picture studio and had to work exclusively with them.

The drawbacks for the old way of hiring actors is that you could not go to a role you loved with another studio, but the pros is that you always had work and you didn't have to look for work elsewhere. I imagine she was talking about box office actors like herself, but she also meant that less talented actors or beginners did get bit roles.

Bette said she did a lot of movies early in her career that she did not like, she said they were called B movies even back then.

Bette Davis was asked about the time she sued Warner Brothers. She was asked why she did it. Her answer was because she wanted better roles for herself and subsequently that would lead to better roles for other actors as well. Bette Davis explained that it was not about the money. It was about the hiring practices of Warner Brothers at the time.

Apparently Warner Brothers and other movie production companies contracted with the actors differently than they did today. These actors were locked into the contract and could not go elsewhere for a better part in a movie for more money.

Although the actors could refuse a role they were penalized for it. First they were penalized by being suspended with no pay. Then they could not work during that period and worse still their contract was extended for duration of the film. In other words if the film took 2 years in the making then their contract was extended for two years.

The sad part of it was if actors refused several roles their contract with Warner Brothers could be extended to 18 to 20 years according to Bette Davis. At that time in her early career Bette Davis was getting minor roles and she wanted better roles to hone in her art.

I decided to do a little research to add to the article.

According to Amber Grey, who writes for BellaOnline, "Davis was given pitifully small roles before and after she received critical acclaim for her role as “Mildred Rogers” in “Of Human Bondage” (1934). Despite receiving an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as “Joyce Heath” in “Dangerous” (1936), Warner Bros. remained short-sighted.

Bette eventually breached her contract and went to work in England where they were given actors better roles. She then sued Warner Brothers but lost. She went back to Warner Brothers and worked respecting her contract. Bette talks about her Hollywood days on the “Dick Cavett Show.”

Bette Davis Test Kisser

I greatly admire Bette Davis she is one of my all-time favorite actresses. Like many people I feel that the caliber of actors from the “Golden Age” of Hollywood far exceeds the caliber of some of the modern day Hollywood actors.

Bette Davis took on roles that many actresses would never dream of playing. She had no problem playing roles that made her look plain in a time when the stereotype of the beautiful Hollywood actress prevailed.

In “Now Voyager” she played a very homely maiden unhappy with her life while under the overbearing influence of her mother. I feel that not many glamorous actresses would have agreed to do that part; even though in the end of the movie Bette Davis transforms into a beautiful independent young woman.

Bette Davis played the bad woman in several movies. I admire her spunk, hard work and dedication to her craft. She has been an inspiration for future generations of actresses to come. She led the way to making the art of acting a little easier on actors who came after her.

I am saddened that she didn’t win her law suit. She deserved better roles and so did other actors of her time. clearly Warner Brothers had their best interest in mind.

I enjoyed that interview so very much. Bette Davis was in her early sixties at the time. She was so witty and charming.

Dick asked her if she was a virgin in her earliest days of Hollywood and she said she was when she started acting. Then Dick said he would like to kiss her to which she wittedly replied: I have been on this show what three times now; I usually wait until at least five times.
Dick went on to ask if there were any men she hated kissing and she quickly responded oh yes there was one actor but she could not disclose his name because he was still living. He gave her such an awful more or less disgusting kiss.

From there Bette went on to say that one of her first jobs in acting was a kiss tester in in Hollywood. Warner Brothers needed her to kiss 15 men to see how they looked in front of the camera. Bette said a kissing scene is harder than what it looks like on scream. You had to pull it off as real and camera perfect.
To test the kisser, she had to lie down on a couch while 15 guys got on top of her and kissed her. She would then rate them.
Dick asked her if Claude Rains was a good kisser, her eyes just lit up as she said oh yes he was the best.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Bette Davis, Bette Davis Story, Celebrities, Celebrity Lives, Celebrity Stories, Classic Movies, Hollywood, Hollywood Stories, Movies, Old Movies, Turner Classico Movies

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
12th Nov 2015 (#)

Bette Davis will live on in the hearts of many.

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