In This Our Life

In This Our Life

DVD - 2016
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What Stanley Timberlake wants, she takes. So, on the eve of her marriage, she runs off with her sister's husband, the first of many betrayals that lead to disaster, and to a compulsively watchable brew of deceit, racial bigotry, latent incest and violent death.
Audience: OFA rating: PG.
Publisher: Burbank : Warner Home Video, 2016.
Branch Call Number: DVD FIC In
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (97 min.) : digital, sound, black and white ; 12 cm
Language Note: Closed captioned for the hearing impaired.


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Nov 09, 2018

Entertaining melodrama. Davis really chews up the set.

Vincent T Lombardo Mar 10, 2016

Another great vehicle for Bette Davis, who is brilliant! The rest of the cast is also great, as is the screenplay. Ahead of its time in its depiction of a black character.

Apr 19, 2015

Bette Davis plays the evil conniving virago for all it’s worth in John Huston’s over-the-top soaper. When spoiled rich bitch Stanley Timberlake (Davis) dumps her adoring fiancé Craig Fleming (suave doormat George Brent) in order to run off with Peter, the husband of her sister Roy (simmering martyr Olivia de Havilland), the stage is set for tragedy and divine retribution. It isn’t long before Peter, a promising surgeon, slowly wakes up to the fact that Stanley loves only herself, a revelation which finds him hitting the bottle more than he should. Roy and Craig, in the meantime, are finding more than shared misery in one another’s company. But when a seemingly contrite Stanley returns to the family minus Peter she’s more determined than ever to upset the apple cart once again by setting her sights on rekindling Craig’s affections. With the family picking sides—Roy and her father suspicious of Stanley’s every move while her doting mother and wealthy uncle William (whose creepy attentions towards Stanley border on incestuous) willing to turn a blind eye to her scheming ways—it takes a tragic accident to shake everyone back to reality. Aside from Davis’ manic portrayal of an egotistical harpy incapable of moral compunction the rest of the cast plays it pretty straight with de Havilland’s Roy suffering angelically, Brent’s Craig grasping for silver linings, and Frank Craven as family patriarch Asa Timberlake nodding sagely while his daughter’s life goes down in flames. What sets this one apart from the usual crop of old Hollywood morality plays however is its frank depiction of racist attitudes in the south—in this case Virginia. Young black man Parry Clay (a quiet performance by Ernest Anderson) is an employee of Uncle William’s who dreams of becoming a lawyer despite the many obstacles a “coloured boy” must overcome. When Stanley finds herself in serious trouble with the law and tries to pin the blame on Parry his cynical attitude towards the legal system, and the compassion his plight engenders in the caucasians around him, proved too problematic for southern audiences causing the studio to cut out any “sympathetic” scenes before the film was shown below the Mason-Dixon line.

Froster Jul 29, 2013

There are a few worthy films that simply slip out of notice for no good reason at all. How can a film that was John Huston's second (after Maltese Falcon), starring Bette Davis at the peak of her stardom, that teams Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel once again after GWTW, have fallen into obscurity? It turns out to be undeserved. "In This Our LIfe" is no embarassment to any of these talents, but a big, ripe melodrama worth watching. Its treatment of racism is pioneering, and the scenes between Coburn and Davis hinting at flirtation between family members have a perverse, underplayed fascination. De Havilland, once again, shows her charm and intelligence, and a steely coldness that is a prelude to her tour de force in "The Heiress". I don't mean that this is by any means a masterpiece, but you don't get this bunch together at this period and come up with just any old drek. See what you think.

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