Jezebel
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In 1938, Jezebel was widely regarded as Warner Bros.' "compensation" to Bette Davis for her losing the opportunity to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. Resemblances between the two properties are inescapable: Jezebel heroine Julie Marsden (Davis) is a headstrong Southern belle not unlike Scarlett (Julie lives in New Orleans rather than Georgia); she loves fiancé Preston Dillard (played by Henry Fonda) but loses him when she makes a public spectacle of herself (to provoke envy in him) by wearing an inappropriate red dress at a ball, just as Scarlett O'Hara… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A tottering costume drama that gave Bette Davis one of her rare non-bitchy roles. It should come as little surprise that it doesn't quite work."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"It would have tasted more like lemonade than a mint julep without Bette Davis' fiery performance."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Jezebel (1938), a romantic melodrama with views of 1850s New Orleans ante-bellum society, was offered as compensation to film star Bette Davis"
‑ Tim Dirks, Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
"Jezebel is fascinating from a cinematic history perspective, but it's also a strong melodrama beyond the societal backdrops"
‑ Gabe Leibowitz, Film and Felt
"The film is much more interesting for its traces of Davis' own future roles and images than for its decoy status as a GWTW consolation prize."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"Directed with taste and discretion by Wyler, the film has several poignant scenes, such as the one in which Henry Fonda ferociously forces Bette Davis to dance in her red dress, while staring down at anyone who appears critical of her code violation."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"The overall slant of the entire movie is a sort of half-hearted indictment of the Old South's code of ethics that was rooted in slavery."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
More reviews for Jezebel on Rotten Tomatoes