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Has Wicked Stepmother, 1989, ever shown on TCM? Bette Davis´ last film and the year that she died

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Has Wicked Stepmother, 1989, ever shown on TCM? No, it has ever shown on TCM. I was just told on another thread.

 

It was Bette Davis´ last film and the year that she died from her battle against breast cancer. She dropped out from the part. She didn´t like the script and she didn´t give a good performance but who expected more when she was dying.  As a fan of Davis, I´d like to see it.

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TopBilled replied on another thread I posted: no, it has ever shown on TCM.

That's correct.

 

I remember reading about the production of this film a while back. Supposedly, Robert Osborne knew the director and it was he who suggested the casting of Bette for this film (and of course, it was to be her last picture). Bette quit the production half-way into filming due to a variety of reasons. A rewritten script and editing was used to reshape the story so they could still use the footage they had with her. The end result is a somewhat disjointed story but fans of Bette and fans of this genre should still like it.

 

Because Osborne has a personal involvement with the film (on some level), I am surprised he has never made it one of his monthly picks. Maybe at some point we will see it on TCM. I believe it is owned by MGM.

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That's correct.

 

I remember reading about the production of this film a while back. Supposedly, Robert Osborne knew the director and it was he who suggested the casting of Bette for this film (and of course, it was to be her last picture). Bette quit the production half-way into filming due to a variety of reasons. A rewritten script and editing was used to reshape the story so they could still use the footage they had with her. The end result is a somewhat disjointed story but fans of Bette and fans of this genre should still like it.

 

Because Osborne has a personal involvement with the film (on some level), I am surprised he has never made it one of his monthly picks. Maybe at some point we will see it on TCM. I believe it is owned by MGM.

 

Thanks so much TopBilled for this informative reply. I requested ¨Wicked Stepmother¨ to be shown on TCM earlier today and I hope that it will be shown at some point in the near future. All fans of Bette Davis should see this film with the always good commentaries by Robert Osborne. I happen to have read Davis´ ¨This ´n That¨ memoirs and I infer from it and some other online readings, that the story of this comedy is a mockery of Davis towards her daughter´s ill intentions of wanting her mother to be portrayed in a film as she (her daughter) depicts her in her (daughter´s) unkind and undeserving book, which I don´t want to name because it is not worthwhile reading. My recommendation is that fans of Davis read her memoirs, ¨This ´n That.¨

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Thanks so much TopBilled for this informative reply. I requested ¨Wicked Stepmother¨ to be shown on TCM earlier today and I hope that it will be shown at some point in the near future. All fans of Bette Davis should see this film with the always good commentaries by Robert Osborne. I happen to have read Davis´ ¨This ´n That¨ memoirs and I infer from it and some other online readings, that the story of this comedy is a mockery of Davis towards her daughter´s ill intentions of wanting her mother to be portrayed in a film as she (her daughter) depicts her in her (daughter´s) unkind and undeserving book, which I don´t want to name because it is not worthwhile reading. My recommendation is that fans of Davis read her memoirs, ¨This ´n That.¨

Thanks for the reading suggestion. I haven't read Davis' autobiography yet. One of the reasons she left the film early was due to her failing health. As you said, it was near the end of her life. But she kept going as long as she could.

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If TCM wanted to punish viewers for an evening they could air the last movies of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford (and I know TCM has aired 'TROG' before), Peter Sellers + Frank & Dino.

 

     So we'd have this happy bunch of films:

 

WICKED STEPMOTHER (1989)

TROG (1970)

FIENDISH PLOT OF DR. FU MANCHU, The (1980)

CANNONBALL RUN II (1984)

 

      My personal opinion:  'TROG' is better than 'FU MANCHU' and 'CANNONBALL RUN II'.   I don't remember enough of 'WICKED STEPMOTHER' to have a valid opinion. 

 

     'The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu' (1980) has no comedic energy whatsoever and is just plain bad.  Makes 'The Prisoner of Zenda' (1979) look mighty good by comparison. 

 

    As for 'Cannonball Run II' . . . the less said the better.  At least the first 'Cannonball Run' movie had an ending to the race.  And 'Run II' is a longer movie than the first film even without a finish to the race.  Yucko! 

 

     ( I suppose TCM could also include Errol Flynn's last movie, too, as long as we're slumming.  'CUBAN REBEL GIRLS' sounds like fun, doesn't it?  :blink:  ).  

 

      

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Yes, at least some stars ended on a better note. William Powell's last film was MISTER ROBERTS. And Jean Arthur's final one was SHANE.

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Yes, at least some stars ended on a better note. William Powell's last film was MISTER ROBERTS. And Jean Arthur's final one was SHANE.

 

Those two films are great ones for those two actors.  I would add Bogie in The Harder They Fall,  and Tyrone Power for Witness for the Prosecution.

 

I'm sure there are many others.   

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Those two films are great ones for those two actors.  I would add Bogie in The Harder They Fall,  and Tyrone Power for Witness for the Prosecution.

 

I'm sure there are many others.   

Yes. I picked Arthur and Powell for my examples because unlike Bogart and Power (who probably would have kept making movies if they hadn't died), Jean Arthur and William Powell lived for many years after their final feature films. They both knew when to quit while they were ahead. Arthur did some television (not much but some) and Powell did no television at all. Arthur also played Peter Pan on Broadway. So she did still perform after her movie career. But Powell seems to have been by all accounts fully retired after 1955, though I believe he was offered roles to return to the movies which he subsequently declined.

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If TCM wanted to punish viewers for an evening they could air the last movies of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford (and I know TCM has aired 'TROG' before), Peter Sellers + Frank & Dino.

 

     So we'd have this happy bunch of films:

 

WICKED STEPMOTHER (1989)

TROG (1970)

FIENDISH PLOT OF DR. FU MANCHU, The (1980)

CANNONBALL RUN II (1984)

 

      My personal opinion:  'TROG' is better than 'FU MANCHU' and 'CANNONBALL RUN II'.   I don't remember enough of 'WICKED STEPMOTHER' to have a valid opinion. 

 

     'The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu' (1980) has no comedic energy whatsoever and is just plain bad.  Makes 'The Prisoner of Zenda' (1979) look mighty good by comparison. 

 

    As for 'Cannonball Run II' . . . the less said the better.  At least the first 'Cannonball Run' movie had an ending to the race.  And 'Run II' is a longer movie than the first film even without a finish to the race.  Yucko! 

 

     ( I suppose TCM could also include Errol Flynn's last movie, too, as long as we're slumming.  'CUBAN REBEL GIRLS' sounds like fun, doesn't it?  :blink:  ).  

 

I've read that Joan Crawford's last film, "Trog" (1970), is also very bad but not as bad as Bette Davis' last film, WICKED STEPMOTHER (1989). Even though I have not seen it myself, according to the opinions written in Amazon by people who bought the DVD and other viewers, it seems to be indeed quite bad. However, as a fan of Bette Davis, I 'd like to see it. It is said to be bad mainly because, for reasons not entirely known, Bette Davis quit filming half-way into the making of the film and that caused the script to have to be edited and rewritten, which distorted the initial story. I am afraid that viewers who are not Bette Davis' fans would be left wondering why such a bad film would be shown but that could be fixed with a good introductory commentary by Robert Osborne. As posted by TopBilled before on this topic thread, "Robert Osborne has a personal involvement with the film (on some level) since he knew the director and it was he who suggested the casting of Bette for this film, (and of course, it was to be her last picture). "  Even if the film it is not shown, it'd be good if Robert Osborne mentions about this film, possibly following a showing of "The Whales of August," (1987), the movie in which Bette Davis acted prior to this last film.

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I've read that Joan Crawford's last film, "Trog" (1970), is also very bad but not as bad as Bette Davis' last film, WICKED STEPMOTHER (1989). Even though I have not seen it myself, according to the opinions written in Amazon by people who bought the DVD and other viewers, it seems to be indeed quite bad. However, as a fan of Bette Davis, I 'd like to see it. It is said to be bad mainly because, for reasons not entirely known, Bette Davis quit filming half-way into the making of the film and that caused the script to have to be edited and rewritten, which distorted the initial story. I am afraid that viewers who are not Bette Davis' fans would be left wondering why such a bad film would be shown but that could be fixed with a good introductory commentary by Robert Osborne. As posted by TopBilled before on this topic thread, "Robert Osborne has a personal involvement with the film (on some level) since he knew the director and it was he who suggested the casting of Bette for this film, (and of course, it was to be her last picture). "  Even if the film it is not shown, it'd be good if Robert Osborne mentions about this film, possibly following a showing of "The Whales of August," (1987), the movie in which Bette Davis acted prior to this last film.

I have a feeling there are two groups-- those who rate it as a good example of Bette's acting late in her career (and her willingness to still act at all); and those who find the film so abysmal as to be an embarrassment that mars the Davis legacy. I agree it should be shown on TCM, at least once.

 

From what I have read, she was quite ill during filming. It probably became too much of a toll for her, but she labored on because she still wanted to act and my guess is she needed the money for her mounting medical bills. Then, there were creative differences over the script and how the project was being filmed. So she walked off.

 

WICKED STEPMOTHER had a rather small budget of $2.5 million. But it only made $43,000 at the box office. So by all accounts, it was a huge bomb and not the type of movie swan song befitting a legend of Davis' magnitude.

 

It was also the last film Evelyn Keyes made. She plays one of the witch instructors.

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