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USA 1941
Directed by
William Wyler
117 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Little Foxes

Lillian Hellman adapted her own hit 1939 Broadway play about a divided Southern plantation family in the last throes of the genteel ways of The Deep South as Northern industrial capitalism moves in. In a role played by Tallulah Bankhead in the stage version, Bette Davis stars as Regina, a cold-hearted woman, sister to two rapacious brothers (Charles Dingle and Carl Benton Reid) and married to an ailing Southern gentleman whom she despises for his weakness.

All the elements of a for-the-period very popular style of film, the Southern melodrama, are here – greed, sexual frustration and the odour of decay contrasted with virtue (represented by Teresa Wright who makes her acting debut as Regina’s daughter, Alexandra) and the burgeoning enlightenment of modernity (represented by Richard Carlson as the town journalist and Alexandra’s beau). With additional scenes and dialogue by Arthur Kober, Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell, quality direction from Wyler supported by classy photography by Gregg Toland and Davis at her villainous best this will provide solid satisfaction for fans of Hollywood’s Golden Years.




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