BETTE DAVIS “A BASICALLY BENEVOLENT VOLCANO” BBC 1983 (3/8)



Part 3 features scenes from Miss Daviss first Oscar-winning performance, Dangerous and details Bettes frustration with poor scripts being sent her way despite the proof of Oscar gold, leading up to her legendary battle with Warner Bros. in the English courts; lifelong friends Geraldine Fitzgerald and Anne Baxter offering their opinions on Bettes battles for greatness in film; and Miss Daviss famous story of the day she did her OWN make-up to insure realism in the 1937 Warner Bros. gangster movie classic, Marked Woman.
Be sure to look for Marked Woman on DVD as part of Warner Bros. Home Videos newly repackaged and re-issued Bette Davis Collection Vol. 2!

Alongside the Turner Classic Movies documentary All About Bette one decade later, A Basically Benevolent Volcano might be the best of the many documentaries made on the life and career of Bette Davis. While this 1983 BBC production is far less educational than subsequent documentaries (no mention is ever made of Of Human Bondage and its importance in the history of both Bette Davis and the Academy Awards!) the film shines thanks largely to a priceless interview with Bette Davis, one of the last interviews she would give prior to the relentlessly, tragically unfair series of physical and personal setbacks that would befall her from 1983 to 1985. This dark but empowering chapter in the life of The First Lady of the American Screen would include a double mastectomy, a massively debilitating stroke that slurred her speech, a broken hip that undermined her ability to walk or act with her body the way she had done so masterfully on film for decades, and, worst of all, the cold and cruel betrayal of her eldest daughter, the beloved child who abandoned her mother and wrote a whiney but nasty book about herafter becoming a Born Again Christian, no less (today she runs the B.D. Hyman Ministry, named after herself). While Bettes continued triumphs against the worst of the hurdles life could offer would be her greatest challenge and most inspiring legacy, Volcano offers a chance to see how truly happy and fulfilled Bette Davis was in the first half of her seventies, before fate delivered a slow-motion death blow in the years that lay ahead. In addition to a truly marvelous interview with Miss Davis, her co-stars (who became some of her closest lifelong friends) Olivia de Havilland, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Anne Baxter, as well as one of her favorite directors and greatest admirers, the legendary Joseph L. Mankiewicz, writer/director of All About Eve.

VIVA LA BETTE!!!

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