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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Jezebel is Now Available on Blu-ray From New 4K Scan of Original Nitrate Element

A Blu-ray release of Jezebel is exciting news for any classic film fan. Its star, Bette Davis, is a huge icon of Hollywood's Golden Age, not to mention a representative of the best-of-the-best in acting during any age of the motion picture industry. And the title role of this 1938 gem is one the self described diva was born to play. With five Academy Award nominations, and two wins, this Davis vehicle is one for the ages. From its star to its supporting actors, director, and incredible production value, Jezebel is a film that will shine amongst the best films of any era. It is a Davis drama after all.

Bette Davis was one of many actresses who campaigned for the coveted role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind. She did not get the part. As a consolation prize, Warner Bros. produced this film with Davis pre-set to play the title character. Although it lacks the splashy technicolor of GWTW, Jezebel was treated as one of the biggest productions of the year. And since it ended up beating GWTW to theaters, it benefitted from being released first as audiences anxiously waited for the the other Southern spectacular.

In one of her most acclaimed performances, Davis personifies a woman scorned in director William Wyler's unforgettable portrait of a Southern belle whose charms are only equaled by her viciousness. Henry Fonda plays her fiance, and the man that defies her. Davis is Julie, a New Orleans beauty, constantly attempting to make her betrothed jealous. Angry and disgraced, he breaks the engagement and leaves town, only to return with a wife that sparks a plethora of devious designs. Davis' fiery performance garnered her the Oscar as the Best Actress of 1938. Co-star Fay Bainter also received an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress. The film also includes the impressive cast of George Brent, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Crisp, Fay Bainter, Richard Cromwell, Henry O'Neill, and John Litel. All of the titanic talent involved in this spectacular production has never been better.

The film has been painstakingly restored to a pristine print in glorious Black and White. The sumptuous sets and costumes, Wyler's vivid direction and, most of all, Davis' truly stunning performance are seen as never before in this 1080p HD transfer for Blu-ray. Special features include a commentary, the featurette "Jezebel: Legend of the South"; a vintage musical short "Melody Masters: Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra", a classic cartoon with Daffy Duck, a rarely-seen promo-teaser "Ramblin 'Round the Hollywood Studio with the Candid Cameraman", and the theatrical reissue trailer. I would say that this is a good buy all the way around. I will not be hesitaiting to make the buy myself.

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