Little Foxes The (1941)
Outstanding Bette Davis film in which she plays a driven woman with a weak husband (played by Herbert Marshall) who fights for everything in a wealthy family. This William Wyler directed gem also includes Teresa Wright (in her first film!) and Dan Duryea. Ms. Davis Ms. Wright and Patricia Collinge (also her first film) received Oscar nominations as did director Wyler the picture and Lillian Hellman’s Screenplay. Ms. Davis’s Regina Giddens is AFI’s #43 villain.
This story about greed and dysfunctional family relationships and what it drives everyone (particularly Ms. Davis’s character) to do is a must-see classic. The Hubbard’s (led by Charles Dingle & Carl Benton Reid) and the Giddens (really just Davis’s Regina who is also the sister of Dingle’s & Reid’s characters) are power broker families in a town which would desires a factory to be built in their community for the riches it will bring to them. Though the siblings may ordinarily compete they work together for this common cause and they even discuss a possible marriage between Regina’s daughter (Wright) and the weak Hubbard son (Duryea) who gets involved in some financial malfeasance. Regina manipulates her own crippled husband (Marshall) into returning she’s needs his financial support (it’s his money) to complete their plans and later exhibits her evil ways in one of the most memorable staircase scenes you’ll ever see. Collinge plays Birdie Hubbard the wife whose sweet nature serves as a contrast to (which emphasizes) the others’ crooked deeds.