Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Recommended Posts

I love watching old movies, but often the sexism gets on my nerves. I watched Jezabel, staring Bette Davis, the other night. Julie, the main character, is a Southern Belle who is head strong and has the audacity to challange silly social customs. She gets shunned for not wearing white to a ball. Even her fiance shuns her which leads to their breakup. Months later she wants to get back together with him, but it's too late because he married another woman. During a social gathering she finds out he was married, but not before she humbles herself before him begging his forgiveness. Her jealousy causes her to flirt with another man. Her ex-fiance's brother publically tells him she's egging him on. This leads to a dual in which the man she was flirting with gets killed. Of course this is all Julie's fault, even though she begs them not to go through with the dual. So when her ex-fiance gets Yellow Fever and has to go away to a special hospital, Julie begs his wife to let her go with him so she can nurse him back to health and therefore redeem herself. My point is that often in these older movies if there is a strong willed woman, the movie will have circumstances that are meant to humble her.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well those were the social customs of the times that Preston questioned once he went to the north. You can see these customs falling apart as the imminent Civil War rages on and the epidemic of Yellow Jack killing thousands. It's a great film that was well searched, an extinct society that only lives on in this great Wyler movie.

Link to post
Share on other sites

But still, Julie was punished for defying a social custom. It's silly to be shunned because of the color of your dress. And I'm still bothered that the death of a man in a duel was blamed on Julie. She didn't intend for anyone to get killed. She just flirted with a guy. Why was none of the guilt put on the guy who pulled the trigger? Yes, it was good that Preston was questioning slavery, but the custom of dueling and restricting dress color for unmarried women attending balls should have also been questioned. And Julie's characterization as "Jezabel" was very unfair.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The color of the dress was important in 1852 because this was a type of ?coming out? party for young un-married girls. White symbolized virginity. Red symbolized harlots.

 

Anyway, no family would have allowed their daughter to wear a red dress to such a party, and the chaperones would not have allowed her into the building.

 

The guys who had the duel over her were just stupid. She certainly wasn?t worth having a duel over. Duels were eventually outlawed in the US. It was a silly custom.

 

She was so bossy, no one would have wanted her as a wife. Wealthy men back in those days would not have put up with such bossiness in a wife.

Link to post
Share on other sites

*"My point is that often in these older movies if there is a strong willed woman, the movie will have circumstances that are meant to humble her."*

 

Strong-willed? Phooey! She was a selfish and manipulative woman of privilege who orchestrated the humiliation of any person who didn't give in to her wants. She'd teach those who didn't obey her - just like the colt that made her late for her party.

 

"So sorry. But you know when a colt gets high-headed it's teach him his manners right now or ruin him."

 

So she sets about to wear a dress better suited for Galatant Street not because it suited her but because it would embarrass Pretson Dillard in front of the business community in which he is a respected (and respectable) member. Remember, she had already had a different ball dress made for the occasion but only chose the red dress after Dillard slighted her by not accompanying her to the dressmaker's shop. Aunt Belle pleads with Julie to consider what she is doing, saying "Think of Press!" and Julie replies, "That's exactly what I'm doing."

 

*"But still, Julie was punished for defying a social custom."*

 

No. It wasn't about the dress. It wasn't even about her declaration that she would break-up a marriage to get the man she wanted. She was shunned and eventually punished for sending a chivalrous man, whom she knew would uphold the codes and customs of the South, to his death. She led Buck Cantrell to believe Press Dillard said or did something untoward to her while drunk. She lied. It was a deliberate and an unconscienable act on her part.

 

"I'm thinking of a woman called *Jezebel* who did evil in the sight of the Lord." - Aunt Belle / Fay Bainter

 

Julie Marsden didn't break custom, she did evil. And for that she was punished. And that is why the film is called *Jezebel* and not *Strong-Willed Julie Marsden*.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

 

Message was edited by: hlywdkjk

Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't pick up that the dress was meant to humiliate Preston, but then I've only watched the movie once and I tend to pick up on more things with more viewings. If she actually intended for someone to die in a duel, then I have no use for her character at all, like I have no use for Scarlet O'Hara. Kate from The Taming of the Shrew comes to mind. Basically, I don't care for a woman being portrayed as a child in a romantic relationship. Remember, Preston was advised to beat her.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=RubyHypatia wrote:}{quote}If she actually intended for someone to die in a duel, then I have no use for her character at all, like I have no use for Scarlet O'Hara.

 

Then you also have no use for King David, who placed his general, Uriah, at the forefront of battle, so that he might be slain and David possess Uriah's wife, Bathsheba.

 

The title of Wyler's film plays on its Biblical underpinnings because it is an allegory about human behavior and the lengths to which inevitably flawed human beings will go to get what they want, or create the fiction in their own minds that they are what they really are not.

 

As such, you can't "have no use for" these characters any more than you can deny the blood of all the sinners and saints that flows in all our veins, including yours.

 

As John Donne wrote: Do not send to ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only blood running through my veins is my own. If David even existed at all, somehow I doubt he was as wonderful as the Bible makes him out to be. Surely his kingdom didn't care for him as they were all too willing to follow Absolom in a bid to take over the kingdom.

 

I like characters I can relate to. I can't relate to anyone who would knowingly put someone else's life in danger. And I certainly can't relate to Scarlet O'Hara.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=RubyHypatia wrote:}{quote}

> I like characters I can relate to. I can't relate to anyone who would knowingly put someone else's life in danger. And I certainly can't relate to Scarlet O'Hara.

 

I think that was pretty much the point about the Scarlett and Jazabel characters. They were selfish bossy people.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=RubyHypatia wrote:}{quote}

> The only blood running through my veins is my own. If David even existed at all, somehow I doubt he was as wonderful as the Bible makes him out to be. Surely his kingdom didn't care for him as they were all too willing to follow Absolom in a bid to take over the kingdom.

>

> I like characters I can relate to. I can't relate to anyone who would knowingly put someone else's life in danger. And I certainly can't relate to Scarlet O'Hara.

 

David was a great man who was also weak and so sinned greatly. The Bible makes that very clear, and that was its point in telling his story. Whatever you may think about the purity of the blood in your veins, its full of the blood of Hitlers and Stalins, and of Mother Teresas and Albert Schweitzers. So's mine, and so is everybody else's. Every human being is the sum total of all the human beings that preceded him or her on this Earth, and you get to choose whether your actions reflect a preponderance of the Hitlers, or the Teresas.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd take those Bible stories with a large dose of skepticism. Whatever their purpose was,

it certainly wasn't to give an objective account of history. Just like the tales of old

Hollywood, there's a lot of exaggeration and worse going on. Ready when you are,

JC.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=sineast wrote:}{quote}

> I'd take those Bible stories with a large dose of skepticism. Whatever their purpose was,

> it certainly wasn't to give an objective account of history. Just like the tales of old

> Hollywood, there's a lot of exaggeration and worse going on. Ready when you are,

> JC.

 

Far from being a Biblical literalist, I question the veracity of everything in it; moreover, I think religion is a millstone around the neck of civilization. Nevertheless, the Bible is a cultural document, charting the evolution of human thought and action, particularly as relates to the great achievements, and ignominous failings, of Western Civilization.

 

One ignores such inescapably weighty relevance at one's peril.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There's no doubt the Bible is a cultural document, though the culture it documents is rather

parochial, though some of its content mirrors universal concerns. It does, again in a narrow

sphere, tell at least part of the story of human activity. And its cultural influence on later

times is significant and obvious. Despite all that, its primitive supernaturalism is a factor

that renders much of its content and teachings very suspect.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OH this message board!!! Here I am trying to respond to a thread about a movie that has a Yellow Fever outbreak in it... and I have just had a bout of "Yellow Wall Syndrome" (where you try to post... but can't get a text box... just a stupid yellow wall.) SO aggravating!! UGH.

 

Oh well... moving on:

 

Leaving all the Biblical arguments OUT of my post, I will only say that while some of the recent comments made are interesting, and even perhaps thought-provoking, I find a few of the remarks more than a little offensive. But I will not go any further down that road.

 

 

Instead, I will go back to the ORIGINAL points that were made about Jezebel and say that generally speaking, I find myself happily agreeing with Mr. Dobbs, Mr. In Hollywood, AND Mr. Sage Jr.

 

Along with much of what you gents have said, I think Jezebel also shows how a truly selfish person can eventually come to see themselves for what they ARE and try to find a way to make amends. Repentance is a wonderful thing.

 

Now I have to confess, I watched this movie for the very first time when it aired a couple of weeks ago, and I was somewhat disappointed in the movie as a whole. But PARTS of the story I liked very much. In truth, if I had to pinpoint my main complaint about the movie, my biggest disappointment was the ending.

 

(SPOILER ALERT)Instead of just rolling off in the cart along with all the other poor sick and dying folk, I wish her ?redeeming moment? had gone on to the next level. I would have loved an ending where you see HIM (very weak, but still alive) finally come back to his wife, (who I really DO think he loved, by the way) after the Yellow Fever outbreak had past, only to tell how Julie saved his life, but lost her own just before he was well enough to return. Now THAT (at least for me) would have been an ending. But who am I to say if it would have been better? I guess that is why the movie folk get paid the big bucks, and I just get to stay home and watch it on tv.

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=rohanaka wrote:}{quote}>

>

> (SPOILER ALERT)Instead of just rolling off in the cart along with all the other poor sick and dying folk, I wish her redeeming moment had gone on to the next level. I would have loved an ending where you see HIM (very weak, but still alive) finally come back to his wife, (who I really DO think he loved, by the way) after the Yellow Fever outbreak had past, only to tell how Julie saved his life, but lost her own just before he was well enough to return. Now THAT (at least for me) would have been an ending.

 

I agree. That is a much better ending. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone,

 

Some of this discussion is veering off topic. Please continue to discuss the subject mentioned at the beginning of the thread to void the thread having to be closed.

 

Thank you :)

-Renee

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the movie, Wyler takes on the same mythological themes as Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter (thus the red/scarlet dress Julie wears to the ball. However, this is a slight twist on Hawthorne in that she chose to wear it and was later scorned). After the ball, Julie is publicly shamed then shunned by her Antebellum socialite friends and family just as Hester Prynne was by her Puritan friends and family. The themes of temptation, sin, guilt, repentance, atonement - and the mores and expectations of the past that were being shattered or at least challenged by the present attitudes and behaviors - are played out against that backdrop of the tumultuous social change that preceded and resulted from the Civil War. Also, it's funny someone mentioned Scarlett O?Hara!

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=TCMWebAdmin wrote:}{quote}

> Hi everyone,

>

> Some of this discussion is veering off topic. Please continue to discuss the subject mentioned at the beginning of the thread to void the thread having to be closed.

>

> Thank you :)

> -Renee

 

{...}

 

Message was edited by: TCMWebAdmin

harassment

Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=whatwouldcagneydo wrote:}{quote}

> In the movie, Wyler takes on the same mythological themes as Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter (thus the red/scarlet dress Julie wears to the ball. However, this is a slight twist on Hawthorne in that she chose to wear it and was later scorned). After the ball, Julie is publicly shamed then shunned by her Antebellum socialite friends and family just as Hester Prynne was by her Puritan friends and family. The themes of temptation, sin, guilt, repentance, atonement - and the mores and expectations of the past that were being shattered or at least challenged by the present attitudes and behaviors - are played out against that backdrop of the tumultuous social change that preceded and resulted from the Civil War.

 

I think when Bette?s character said, ?This is 1852... 1852!, not the dark ages,? the real implication of the screen writer was, ?This 1939... 1939!, not the dark ages.? :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Even when it was the Dark Ages, do you think anybody ever woke up in the morning, slapped him or herself on the forehead, and exclaimed, "Hey! This is the Dark Ages!"?

 

The year is irrelevant; everybody likes to think that the time in which they live isn't the Dark Ages, which is the point (and then everybody gets down to work proving their time is the Dark Ages[/i]: in 1852-65, it was proved via slavery, brutal European colonialism, slaughter of American Indians, the exploitation of the working classes in the Industrial Revolution; 1939-45, it was German expansionism, the Holocaust and the interning of Japanese-Americans; today it's warrantless spying, illegal wars, torture and the systematic exclusion of millions of Americans from affordable healthcare).

 

There's never a shortage of people who will move heaven and earth to prove that theirs is, indeed, a Dark Age.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So anyway, did Julie knowingly put a man's life in danger in order to make Preston jealous? If so, then the "Jezabel" title is fitting. But then this makes her evil and unlikely to so quickly grow a conscience. On the other hand, if she didn't mean for anyone to be killed, then "Jezabel" is an unfair title, which is what I tend to believe. What business was it of Preston's brother to publically tell that guy that Julie was egging him on? And so a duel resulted in Preston's brother killing the guy. It was Preston's brother who deserved the blame, not Julie. She may have been selfish, but how often does that get someone killed? Now being all testeroni gets plenty of people killed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Through the sequence of events that Julie started with her temptation - and some might say, her sin - to make Preston jealous, she witnessed and suffered the repurcussions resulting from the unintended consequences of her actions. A naive and silly young girl - absolutely. Inherently evil - I don't think so. Unfortunately, a lot of people (i.e., Julie's family and their community of friends) have a knee-jerk reaction and the easiest thing to do to assuage their minds and to explain the person's behavior is to lablel the person. In this case - Jezebel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

*So anyway, did Julie knowingly put a man's life in danger in order to make Preston jealous? If so, then the "Jezabel" title is fitting.*

 

Yes, as Kyle pointed out, she led Buck Cantrell to believe that Pres had said something or done something untoward to her while the two of them were talking on the lawn.

 

She knew that Buck would defend her honor. She thought the duel would be between Buck and Pres and that she could talk or charm the two of them to call it off. But Pres got called back to New Orleans by Dr. Livingstone and Buck goaded Pres' brother into the duel.

 

So, yes, she knowingly put a man's life in danger.

 

*What business was it of Preston's brother to publically tell that guy that Julie was egging him on? And so a duel resulted in Preston's brother killing the guy. It was Preston's brother who deserved the blame, not Julie. She may have been selfish, but how often does that get someone killed? Now being all testeroni gets plenty of people killed.*

 

No, it was Julie who deserved the blame. She spent the evening at the dinner table calling Pres' rather prescient words into question and ridiculing his wife. Had it only been at a dinner with just them and Aunt Belle, it might not have been a big deal.

 

But it was in a public, social setting with others at the table (who were made to feel uncomfortable to boot) and Julie encouraged Buck to question Pres and ridicule his wife as well.

 

Today, we just get up from a dinner like that, tell the hostess off and leave. A hundred and fifty years ago, they didn't do that, nor would they even consider that.

 

Back then, they fought a duel over someone's honor being besmirched. In this instance, Buck Cantrell believed (thanks to Julie) that Pres Dillard had besmirched Julie's honor when, in fact, nothing like that had happened. Pres chose his wife over Julie and Julie was mad.

 

And yes, considering the events she put into play (and knew she was putting into play but thought she could control), Pres' brother had ever right to tell Julie that in the end, as Buck lie dying, he realized that Julie had set the whole thing up.

 

Testroni had nothing to do with it. Envy and hubris (on Julie's part) played the major role.

 

On another note, was that Anthony Quinn in the final bar sequence in New Orleans.

 

Did anyone else think that Dr. Livingstone and Aunt Belle had had a similar courtship years earlier that ended badly due to Aunt Belle's headstrong ways?

Link to post
Share on other sites

>Did anyone else think that Dr. Livingstone and Aunt Belle had had a similar courtship years earlier that ended badly due to Aunt Belle's headstrong ways?

 

Whoa! That is something I never noticed or thought of before.... now you are going to make me go back and watch it again..... :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...