Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis

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Henry Holt and Company, Oct 30, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 496 pages
2 Reviews

The legendary Hollywood star blazes a fiery trail in this enthralling portrait of a brilliant actress and the movies her talent elevated to greatness

She was magnificent and exasperating in equal measure. Jack Warner called her "an explosive little broad with a sharp left." Humphrey Bogart once remarked, "Unless you're very big she can knock you down." Bette Davis was a force of nature—an idiosyncratic talent who nevertheless defined the words "movie star" for more than half a century and who created an extraordinary body of work filled with unforgettable performances.

In Dark Victory, the noted film critic and biographer Ed Sikov paints the most detailed picture ever delivered of this intelligent, opinionated, and unusual woman who was—in the words of a close friend—"one of the major events of the twentieth century." Drawing on new interviews with friends, directors, and admirers, as well as archival research and a fresh look at the films, this stylish, intimate biography reveals Davis's personal as well as professional life in a way that is both revealing and sympathetic. With his wise and well-informed take on the production and accomplishments of such movie milestones as Jezebel, All About Eve, and Now, Voyager, as well as the turbulent life and complicated personality of the actress who made them, Sikov's Dark Victory brings to life the two-time Academy Award–winning actress's unmistakable screen style, and shows the reader how Davis's art was her own dark victory.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - michigantrumpet - LibraryThing

I love movies from Ms. Davis' era, so expected to like this book. Sadly, just couldn't finish this one. Unfortunately, no matter how well written a biography, if the subject doesn't grab you, the book ... Read full review

DARK VICTORY: The Life of Bette Davis

User Review  - Kirkus

Film historian Sikov (On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder, 1999) steps into the ring with battlin' Bette of Warner Bros.Like many of her biographers, friends, ex-husbands ... Read full review


An Infants Album
A Yankee in Hollywood
An Actress in Motion
The First Oscar
Up in Arms
A Prescription for Independence
For the Boys
Commanders in Chief
Fast Forward
Wife and Mother
Troubles and a Triumph

In the Warner Jail
The Second Oscar
A Girl Who Dies
More Battles and Two Retreats
Breakdown and Recovery
Situation Wanted

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About the author (2007)

Film critic Ed Sikov is the author of the critically acclaimed On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder and Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers. He has taught at Columbia University, Haverford College, and Colorado College, and lives in New York.

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