S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Directed by Curtis Bernhardt
Screen legend and Academy Award-winner Bette Davis ("All About Eve," "Dark Victory") stars with Emmy-nominee Barry Sullivan ("Rich Man, Poor Man") in this compelling look at why people drift apart in marriage and seek divorce, with all its consequences. With Frances Dee ("Of Human Bondage"), Richard Anderson ("The Six Million Dollar Man") and Otto Kruger ("High Noon").
As a rich and self-satisfied matron who is
suddenly confronted by her man with the rather surprising declaration that he
would like a divorce, Miss Davis runs through the standard stages of confusion,
resentment and revenge with the ease and the confident assurance of an
experienced rider on a steeplechase course. She faces his declaration with
elegant horror and shock. She sits down and reviews her life in flashback with
stubborn pride and furrowed brow. She then goes after her humble husband (and
his innocent girl friend) with vindictive wrath, knocking him down with legal
blackmail and bleeding him financially white. And when she has dismally
discovered the lonesomeness of an old divorcée, she breaks down in the most
heart-rending fashion and asks her ex if he doesn't think they might try again.
Theatrical Release: February 3rd, 1951
DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC
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Warner Home Video
Region 0 - NTSC
Average Bitrate: 5.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
• Archive Advert (:59)
One of a handful of perfect Bette Davis super-bitch roles. Amusingly, some of the 'Edith Head' clothes she wears are particularly unflattering and I wonder if this was a conscious decision to advance her character's imperfections. However, in early flashback scenes she is initially portrayed as far more... human. The story does a marvelous job advancing her wealthy matriarch snob status through social climbing, selfish aggression and a gold-digging attitude. Leo Tover has some subtle camerawork that works like a charm on the fictitious bio-pic. Payment on Demand is all Davis - a dynamic vehicle for the iconic actress. I don't think there ever was, or will be, anyone like her onscreen.
It's a single-layered, but looks quite strong. The beginning appears a little frail but as the film progresses the transfer stabilizes and the image is quite exceptional. There is some clunky background noise but the contrast is as good as Warner classics of old. This transfer is progressive and the lack of damage and consistent detail establish a solid digital presentation. There's even a hint of grain.
As usual, no subtitles - and, unremarkable but clear 2.0 channel sound. Extras consist solely of the minute-long Archive advert that starts the disc presentation.
Kind of a must-have for Davis fans. I believe, like many Warner Archive titles, that it is the only game in town to own this lesser-seen gem on DVD. The transfer is one of the better looking that I've seen from the Archive selection. Impressive on all fronts. Recommended!