Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge, and predictable complications result.
The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the 20th century. Regina Giddens née Hubbard has her daughter under her thumb. Mrs Giddens is estranged from her husband, who is convalescing in Baltimore and suffers from a terminal illness. But she needs him home, and will manipulate her daughter to help bring him back. She has a sneaky business deal that she's cooking up with her two elder brothers, Oscar and Ben. Oscar has a flighty, unhappy wife and a dishonest worm of a son. Will the daughter have to marry this contemptible cousin? Who will she grow up to be - her mother or her aunt? Or can she escape the fate of both?Written by
Patricia Collinge and Teresa Wright later played mother and daughter in Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt". See more »
(at around 5 mins) When the piano is played the sounds we hear are an octave lower than the hand-positions shown. See more »
[while riding into town]
Good mornin' Harold.
[looking up from shining the sign that reads 'The Planters Trust Company / Horace Giddens / President']
Mornin' miss Ann. What does your papa write to from Baltimore?
He writes that he feels better Harold.
Dat's good. Write him my greetins and tell him don't worry 'bout da brass - I'm keepin' his name fine and clean.
Thanks, I will.
Mm-mmm, those crabs'll make fine eatins Addie.
They bettah, we got high-toe company for dinner tonight.
[...] See more »
Opening credits prologue: "Take us the foxes, The little foxes, that spoil the vines:
For our vines have tender grapes." The Song of Solomon 2:15
Little foxes have lived in all times, in all places. This family happened to live in the deep South in the year 1900. See more »
Besides a very strong cast and an interesting story, this carefully crafted drama also has many subtleties that make it satisfying to watch, and even more so on repeat viewings. It is still among the better movie depictions of the effects of greed and materialism, and it has lost none of its effectiveness or believability.
Several things work together to make "The Little Foxes" a worthwhile classic. The cast could hardly be improved upon, with the great Bette Davis taking center stage with a role that has her in her element, Herbert Marshall in a role ideal for him, and the supporting roles filled by talented performers who are themselves, in most cases, very well-cast.
The script, likewise, is a well-conceived and well-paced adaptation of the Lillian Hellman play. Finally, William Wyler and his crew piece everything together effectively. Wyler might not be the kind of director who draws a lot of raves for innovation or experimentation, but when he has a good cast and good material, he knows how to make it work.
One of the movie's several noteworthy features is the pace. Much of the first half seems to move quite slowly, and much later the pace of events begins to build steadily. The first part contains many less obvious touches that fit together well, so it is worth watching carefully, even if parts of it seem slow. In the second part, the characters' cat-and-mouse games and attempts to outwit each other come to a head, resulting in some compelling moments.
It might be even more satisfying to watch after you have already seen the movie once, because the numerous subtle points that help to establish the characters then come out more clearly, and the way that things fit together is also easier to see. In any case, it is a classic that has held up well.
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