Just the other day I was having a conversation with my mom about our favorite Bette Davis films and while flipping through the channels, we stopped by our favorite, TCM, and they showed a preview of Jezebel. I had quickly forgotten which day it was supposed to air, but as I sat down this morning to write, I realized today was a Bette Davis marathon on TCM; I’m not going anywhere for hours.
Jezebel is one of my favorite Bette Davis films. I love it for many reasons (the acting, the plot, the set design,) but my favorite aspect of the film are the magnificent gowns that Bette Davis wore. She had several gowns that would cause any bride-to-be to have envy, and the picture at the top (and to the right) of this post happens to be my favorite gown from the film.
It’s such an elegant gown that exudes class and subtle sex appeal. The gown doesn’t need a plunging neckline or a massive amount of cleavage (which wasn’t a trend back then) to set the tone.
So how is the tone set in many of her classic films? The big eyes and gaze of Bette Davis could show sexual desire, sadness, happiness, fear, and a myriad of emotions in between. She didn’t need to try too hard or have thousands of lines (even though she did,) but all she had to do was gaze in one direction and you knew she was madly in love or hated the ground her suitor walked on. It could go either way.
You’ve probably, well hopefully, have heard the phrase “Bette Davis eyes.” Yes, it’s a classic song by Kim Carnes, but it also set the pace for the true meaning of acting with your eyes. Bette Davis had distinctive eyes that conveyed many emotions, and a lot of her films featured close-up scenes that allowed you to dive into her eyes and read her mind…
In most of her films she played the character you loved to hate or hated to love. Yet, once you begin one of her films, you have to watch the entire plot unfold and see what happens. And if anything, if you don’t watch it for the intricate story and her deep eyes, then watch it for the wonderful fashions.
I highly recommend if you have TCM that you enjoy the Bette Davis marathon today. And if you haven’t seen one of her films, then go browse YouTube or Netflix and get lost in Bette Davis’ eyes…