Bette Davis Film Series at LACMA

LACMA’s Tribute to Screen Legend, Bette Davis

 

May 3, 2008

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

LOS ANGELES – Last evening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA) Bing theater, the new Bette Davis stamp was officially unveiled by the U. S. Postal Service. TCM host, Robert Osborne, hosted the event which also began the museums month-long-tribute series of films to the actress: Fasten Your Seat Belts: The Essential Bette Davis.

 

On the 100th anniversary of her birth, the Davis commemorative stamp will be the 14th in the Legends of Hollywood Series by the U.S. Postal Service. The stamp is a beautiful portrait of Davis from the classic film, All About Eve (1951).

 

 

LACMA’s film series began with screenings of her Academy Award winning Jezebel (1938) and The Old Maid (1939) with Miriam Hopkins. This was an interesting combination of films and I wonder if it was a conscious effort on the museums part or simply a coincidence. The Old Maid of course co-starred Davis’ long-time nemesis Miriam Hopkins, who also appeared in the original Broadway version of Jezebel (1933-34). Hopkins originally wanted to star in the film version and even owned a piece of the play, however, Warner Bros. made promises that they never kept and she was ultimately pushed out of the film. This was just one of the many reasons for Hopkins dislike for Davis.

  

 

Miriam Hopkins and Bette Davis in The Old Maid

 Miriam Hopkins (l) and Bette Davis (r) in The Old Maid (1939) (© Allan R. Ellenberger)

 

 

Kathryn Cermak, Davis’ long-time companion at the end of her life, also attended the event. After the stamps unveiling, Osborne, in his introduction of Cermak, revealed that she had never seen All About Eve or Jezebel. That is remarkable considering the years she spent with the actress.

 

LACMA’s salute to the legendary Bette Davis continues until May 31 and includes screenings of All About Eve (1950) and Of Human Bondage (1934) (May 3), The Letter (1940) and Beyond the Forest (1949) (May 9), Now, Voyager (1942) and Old Acquaintance (1943) (May 10), The Little Foxes (1941) and Payment on Demand (1951) (May 17), Dark Victory (1939) and Marked Woman (1937) (May 23), The Star (1942) and The Catered Affair (1956) (May 24), and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and The Nanny (1965) (May 31). All screenings begin at 7:30 p.m.

 

For a complete listing of films, showtimes and ticket prices, please see LACMA’s site for more information.

 

Check out photos from Thursday’s (May 1) Centenial Tribute to Bette Davis at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Alternative Film Guide:

 

PART ONE PART TWO.

 

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