princessananka

Status of 'Beyond the Forest'

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hiyi folks. have been away for several years. am sure my question has been discussed or resolved but last discussion re "beyond the forest", 1949, and Bette Davis last movie under her WB contract was that rights to the author's estate was preventing this movie from coming out on DVD. I have the excellent VHS tape that came out during the 90s. There were no special features. Surely, one would think the rights issue would have been resolved by this time. I've tried reaching WB Video on several occasions but there is never any response. Any answers? This would make a dynamite DVD/blu-ray release with commentaries from one or two film historians.

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I haven't heard anything regarding a home video release.  However, I just saw this film in a showing at the Portland Art Museum last summer.  I'm not sure if theaters have to get any sort of rights to have public exhibitions or whether they're free to show what they want.  I'd be curious to know what type of format the museum acquired to show the movie--it didn't appear to be a VHS version.  Maybe this means that there is a real digital version out there, somewhere, and hopefully it'll make its way to DVD.

 

Another film that I'm waiting for that is also stuck in copyright drama is The Perfect Specimen (1936) with Errol Flynn and Joan Blondell.  I've heard the Lux Radio version multiple times and actually watched a bootlegged version of the film awhile back, but it wasn't in the best quality.

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beyond.jpg

 

 

 

There might very well have been an expiration clause for television or home distribution rights.  Television, home distribution and theatrical rights were usually separate in literary licensing contracts of this period (same occurred with LIFE WITH FATHER and DECEPTION, both of which were later resolved).

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As far as I know it's still in "rights hell". TCM used to show it, but hasnt in around 15 years. :(

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a really good print of BEYOND THE FOREST was posted online and I saw it ca. Christmas, 2015. It was eventually taken down, but i think i may have watched it ten times before that happened.

 

no hyperbole: it was one of the greatest cinematic viewing experiences of my life and i have not been the same since seeing it.

 

i want to stand with this movie on a mountaintop.

      i want to bathe with it in the sea.....

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a really good print of BEYOND THE FOREST was posted online and I saw it ca. Christmas, 2015. It was eventually taken down, but i think i may have watched it ten times before that happened.

 

no hyperbole: it was one of the greatest cinematic viewing experiences of my life and i have not been the same since seeing it.

 

i want to stand with this movie on a mountaintop.

      i want to bathe with it in the sea.....

 

 

LMREO!!!! A DAMN shame it cant be shown. :(

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a really good print of BEYOND THE FOREST was posted online and I saw it ca. Christmas, 2015. It was eventually taken down, but i think i may have watched it ten times before that happened.

 

no hyperbole: it was one of the greatest cinematic viewing experiences of my life and i have not been the same since seeing it.

 

i want to stand with this movie on a mountaintop.

      i want to bathe with it in the sea.....

 

I really want to see Beyond the Forest.    I don't care what has been said about it.   I just want to experience it!

 

TCM;  Please get access to this film.   Thanks

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when i first got hooked on classics ca. age 12, Bette Davis was a clear favorite of mine, but as I've gotten older, I had cooled to her SOMEWHAT, in part because TCM often shows her less successful outings and in part because i'd seen her other triumphs so many times.

 

watching BEYOND THE FOREST I totally remembered why I LOVED Bette. it really reignited my appreciation and love for her.

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And since it hasn't been mentioned, I'll mention it.  This IS the film where Bette slovenly remarks "what a dump".  Not nearly as declarative as the impressionists but she says it nevertheless.

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a really good print of BEYOND THE FOREST was posted online and I saw it ca. Christmas, 2015. It was eventually taken down, but i think i may have watched it ten times before that happened.

 

no hyperbole: it was one of the greatest cinematic viewing experiences of my life and i have not been the same since seeing it.

 

i want to stand with this movie on a mountaintop.

      i want to bathe with it in the sea.....

Double thumbs up Lorna, for quoting Savage Garden! :D

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And since it hasn't been mentioned, I'll mention it.  This IS the film where Bette slovenly remarks "what a dump".  Not nearly as declarative as the impressionists but she says it nevertheless.

 

I recall an episode of 'MASH' in which Klinger walks into the surgeon's tent ("the Swamp") dressed as Bette Davis from 'Beyond the Forest' (I guess) and declares "What a Dump".

 

To which Hawkeye responds,"the decorator's here".

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I recall an episode of 'MASH' in which Klinger walks into the surgeon's tent ("the Swamp") dressed as Bette Davis from 'Beyond the Forest' (I guess) and declares "What a Dump".

 

To which Hawkeye responds,"the decorator's here".

The opening lines from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" Taylor and Burton walk into their house and Taylor says "What a dump" then ask Burton "What's that from, Burton answers "I don't know" and she says "It's from some damn Bette Davis picture from some God damn Warners Bros epic...

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I had heard about Beyond the Forest for years and finally caught up with the film a few years ago. I was sufficiently excited by the experience to write this review at the time.

 

 

 

The first sounds of the film is from the highly dramatic musical score of Max Steiner on the soundtrack, signalling the viewer that what they are about to see is Melodrama.

That opening title music is followed by a forward written across the screen:

This is the story of evil. Evil is headstrong - is puffed up. For our soul's sake, it is salutary for us to view it in all its naked ugliness once in a while. Thus may we know how those who deliver themselves over to it, end up like the Scorpion, in a mad fury stinging themselves to eternal death.

. . . end up like the Scorpion, in a mad fury stinging themselves to eternal death! Who writes like that? But I love it! And the viewer can't say that he or she hasn't been warned.

I finally caught up with an old video tape copy of Beyond the Forest, the infamous 1949 Warner Brothers melo often hailed as a camp classic, the film that ended Bette Davis' 17 year career with the studio. The actress herself took great pleasure in forever deriding the picture whenever she talked about it afterward.

"What a dump", the three words used by countless Davis imitators, drag queen acts and Liz Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe, has very much become a part of the Davis legend, probably the most famous line of dialogue of her career, along with All About Eve's "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

But the truth is that when Davis, looking a little old and a bit ridiculous in a long haired black wig, finally utters the line, while contemptuously glancing around her house, she gives it a throwaway delivery. It has none of the emphasis that the Davis imitators have given it over the years.

However, I found this melodramatic film noirish brew which, unfortunately, seems to be currently tied up in litigation making its accessibility difficult, if not impossible, today, to be quite entertaining. I'm not saying it's a good film exactly, but Davis, playing a restless woman strutting around town, looking a tad too old to be wearing that wig, is fun to watch. Well, Warners was right when they came up with the promotional tag line for this film: Nobody's as good as Bette when she's bad!

Playing Rosa Moline, a small town doctor's wife who is bored . . .Bored . . .BORED!!! with the place and her husband, seeking, no, make that lusting, for the excitement and glamour that Chicago and David Brian's character represent, Davis is a character with few, if any, redeeming virtues. She operates on a self-absorbed level way beyond that of the average teen. This is a woman willing to do just about anything (Melodrama with a capital M here) to get her way. (And, yes, by the way, this lady knows how to use a gun).

I can fully understand why some might call this film's subject matter trashy. However I have to tell you that the climactic ending, bleak as it is, is dramatically staged by director King Vidor, as well as edited and photographed and played, of course, for all its worth by Davis. I think it takes great courage for any actor or actress to totally commit themself to playing a sequence for all the high charged drama they can muster. Davis has that courage is this film, as she did in many others.

No one else in this film has much of a chance beside the star. Joseph Cotten, playing her saintly doctor husband, does manage to bring a contrasting sense of decency to his role. A young Ruth Roman gets fourth billing in a totally forgettable part. However, Dona Drake, while having little to do, does bring a certain tired insolence to her role as Davis' gum chewing Indian maid. (That, of course, prompts a less than politically correct reaction from Davis at one point: "You get out of this house. No Red Indian is going to talk to me like that in my own house!"

I hope for Davis and even non Davis fans that Beyond the Forest becomes available again. Many will tune in ready to laugh but I found this noirish drama to be something of a guilty pleasure. And Davis, when she plays it bad, is definitely fun to watch.

For all of the melodrama that Beyond the Forest provides, it also has a quiet, oddly contemplative scene in which Davis and Cotten are lying on a hillside beside a collection of tall trees. Davis watches as lumberjacks come along and take a couple of swings with their axes at the trees marked to come down.

Davis is very still, reflectively sad in this scene, commenting how the trees stand so tall and strong until someone comes along and marks them for death. She then asks her husband, "See any mark on me?"

Cotten dismisses the question, laughing it off.

"I always thought you were a rotten doctor," Davis says.

It's a moment of self awareness on Davis' part. She knows she is doomed . . . like the scorpion.

 

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