Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Bette Davis Episode of 'This Is Your Life' is Like A Weird Dream


Bette Davis was, of course, one of the screen's greatest performers. She was also known to be thorny and impatient offscreen. When she is ambushed by the THIS IS YOUR LIFE crew while reviewing sketches with Robert Wagner and Edith Head, we can see the old familiar fire in her eyes. The following half hour verges between true warmth - her meetings with director William Wyler, Paul Henreid and her sister; intense awkwardness - the appearance of an ex-con actor she helped obtain parole for; and theater-of-cruelty-level unbearability - a nightclub performer who does her Bette Davis impression. It's all just so weird, made all the more so by the awful Lawrence Welk colors of the set and the sight of so many old favorites in toupees or unfortunate hairstyles (Olivia De Haviland, whoosh).

This is some serious weirdness.



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