Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis

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Macmillan, Oct 30, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 479 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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DARK VICTORY: The Life of Bette Davis

User Review  - Jane Doe - 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

Dark victory: the life of Bette Davis

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

It's a challenge for Bette Davis biographers to match their subject in wit, flinty charm, and the ability to fascinate. That many fail can't really be held against them; clearly, they want to display ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
EARLY SKIRMISHES
7
An Infants Album
9
Lessons
25
A Yankee in Hollywood
36
An Actress in Motion
49
The First Oscar
68
Up in Arms
84
For the Boys
219
Commanders in Chief
238
Deceptions
257
Fast Forward
281
Wife and Mother
299
Onstage Onscreen and on TV
308
Troubles and a Triumph
328
Situation Wanted
346

In the Warner Jail
98
VICTORIES
113
The Second Oscar
115
A Girl Who Dies
132
Feuds
147
More Battles and Two Retreats
161
Breakdown and Recovery
177
A Prescription for Independence
198
Losses
363
Betrayal
385
Wars End
400
Obituary
413
Bibliography
446
Acknowledgments
460
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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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