Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bette Davis' 108th Birthday

Today would be the 108th birthday of Bette Davis.

Bette Davis passed in 1989, leaving behind a legacy of terrific film roles in a wide array of genres.  I'm quite fond of Davis, and when watching her, sometimes wonder if there would be a place for her in Hollywood of 2016.  I don't think she'd find much to do in movies - maybe she'd be an indie darling.  I do think she'd reign supreme over a critically beloved, poorly rated cable TV series that would run for 7 years or so.

Curious about Davis - she seemed to know she wasn't a Rita Hayworth or Ava Gardner, and unlike he Hollywood rival, Joan Crawford, seemed fine with status as a different kind of female star, someone whose appeal stemmed from, yes, the famous eyes, but also the spirit with which she infused her characters.  She always worked harder and fought harder, usually dictating her own terms behind the scenes.

That'll take you pretty damn far if you're the kind of actress she was.  Seeing her play a middle-aged actress in All About Eve or her phenomenal roles in Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? where she went ahead and played her age (but crazy!), Davis is still a marvel.  And, you can watch her transform herself on screen in Now, Voyager (a bit of melodrama, sure, but a great film nonetheless).

She will need to fight Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca for "who best rocks a hat"

Flat out, I'm just a fan.  Y'all should be, too.

My first exposure to Bette Davis was via the 1981 Kim Carnes Top 40 hit, Bette Davis Eyes.  The song taught me to be on the lookout for this lady with the mysterious eyes, and I think I can rightfully say that Kim Carnes did not oversell them.

Rather than a film clip, let's just enjoy some early 80's gravel-voiced pop.

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