In competition for film roles, Academy Awards and for the heart of actor Franchot Tone, the feud that existed between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford has become a notorious staple of Hollywood mythology. But behind the historic squabbles are two talented and still-esteemed actresses, both achieving moments in their careers considered significant in cinema history. Academy Cinemas is proud to present a double feature of two of these stars’ early pictures, both W. Somerset Maugham adaptations, and both major showcases for these actresses we love!
dir. Lewis Milestone
Starring: Joan Crawford, Walter Huston, Beulah Bondi and William Gargan.
In the South Pacific, the passengers of a boat must disembark prematurely at the island of Pago Pago due to a cholera scare. Among them are missionaries Alfred Davidson (Walter Huston) and his wife (Beulah Bondi), and a spirited prostitute, Sadie Thompson (Joan Crawford). On the island, Thompson lives it up with the American soldiers stationed in the village, and captures the heart of Sgt. Tim O'Hara (William Gargan). But Thompson's wild ways are too much for Davidson, who tries to convert her.
Rain was made in that curious period of film history called the "Pre-Code Years," between the coming of sound and the strict enforcement of the Production Code that began in 1934. As a result, Crawford's Sadie -- introduced in a striking series of close-ups of her feet, jewelry-laden arms and then her face -- was very definitely a woman of the streets.
Joan Crawford always considered Rain, the 1932 adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's story, her worst film. In truth, her only mistake in making Rain was flying in the face of her stock casting at the time as an honest shop girl. From the vantage point of 75 years, the performance is quite powerful, while the picture itself has become a cult favourite for her fans and perceived at the most accurate film transcription of the John Colton and Clemence Randolph play adapted from Maugham's story.
OF HUMAN BONDAGE
dir. John Cromwell
Starring: Bette Davis, Leslie Howard and Francis Dee.
Bette Davis rose from the ranks of Warner Bros. contract players to become a screen superstar when she was loaned out to RKO to appear in John Cromwell's adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage.
Leslie Howard (Gone With the Wind) stars as Philip, a British medical student who becomes infatuated with a most unlikely woman: a vulgar waitress named Mildred (Davis). Undeterred by Mildred's obvious contempt of him (and her disgust for his disabled foot), Philip lavishes his affection upon the tawdry woman, and allows his personal and professional life to disintegrate as a consequence of her sadistic whims.
Though considered an unlikely choice to play a cockney working girl, Davis fearlessly embraced Mildred's dark side, and delivered an erotic yet malevolent performance that launched her to the forefront of Hollywood's leading ladies. Notoriously, Davis was initially snubbed for her performance at the Oscars but a write-in vote eventually got her the first of what would eventually be eleven acting nominations.
15 minute intermission between films.
General Admission: $15.50
Student / Senior / Concession: $12.00
Child (Under 15): $10.00