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Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006)

Combining unprecedented access to Davis' vast personal archives with original interviews, this documentary reveals a startling portrait of one of hollywood's most gifted and enigmatic stars.

Directors:

Peter Jones, Mark A. Catalena (co-director) (as Mark Catalena)

Writer:

Peter Jones
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Sarandon ... Narrator (voice)
Bette Davis ... Herself (archive footage)
Ruthie Davis Ruthie Davis ... Herself (archive footage)
Michael Merrill Michael Merrill ... Himself
James Woods ... Himself
Marion Sherry Marion Sherry ... Herself
Vincent Sherman ... Himself
Cecil Clovelly Cecil Clovelly ... Himself (archive footage)
Conrad Nagel ... Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Casey Robinson Casey Robinson ... Himself (voice) (archive footage)
George Arliss ... Himself as Montgomery Royle (archive footage)
Leo Rosten Leo Rosten ... Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Jack L. Warner ... Himself (archive footage)
Ellen Burstyn ... Herself
Jane Fonda ... Herself
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Storyline

A standard biography of the famed actress recounting her childhood, early films and her rise to stardom. Her father abandoned the family when she was quite young and she remained close to her domineering mother. As she became more popular she had many fights with Jack Warner, the head of Warner Brothers studio, but eventually managed to exert greater control over her career. She was nominated for several Oscars. Her private life life included several failed marriages and she was deeply hurt when her daughter, who was her closest companion for several years, wrote a tell-all and unflattering memoir of her life. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 May 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Bette Davis-Story See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

This documentary claims that Arliss saw Bette in a play,"The Wild Duck". In fact, character actor Murray Kinnell after working with Davis advised Arliss to have her read for him, as he knew Arliss was looking for a specific type for a film and Kinnell thought that Davis might suit Arliss. Arliss was unfamiliar with Davis but had worked with Kinnell in the theater as well as on film. See more »

Connections

References On Golden Pond (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Star Dust
Music by Hoagy Carmichael
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A good reason for Davis fans to rejoice...an excellent bio-profile...
17 August 2006 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

And yet--having given that title to my commentary--I have to say that not everything depicted here paints BETTE DAVIS with a rosy glow. It's an accurate, no holds barred sort of documentary of her life on and off the screen--and some of it has a "warts and all" kind of truth to it that does away with gushing fan worship that some seem to prefer their favorite stars bathed in. For those fans, this is an eye-opener.

Instead, it's a penetrating look at the kind of Yankee upbringing the actress had, how she craved from her father the kind of attention she only got from her mother "Ruthie"; how her father's indifferent attitude toward her career as an actress was something she was never able to overcome; how the main influence on her life was the mother who doted on her rather than her less strong-willed sister; and, finally, how she developed into a strong and determined young woman who was not about to let anyone stand in the way of the sort of career she felt she fully deserved.

All of this is accompanied by interesting family still photos, excellent film clips, and, occasional remarks from co-workers or friends on how they see Bette Davis, the person and the actress.

While much of the material has been presented before, it has never been examined with such precision and understanding, giving a clearer portrait of the actress than ever seen before.

Peter Jones is to be congratulated for writing an excellent expose. It's not a gushing fan tribute, but an extremely sharp and penetrating look at a woman who had many admirable traits, but whose ambition and self-absorption (an ingredient necessary for a successful actress), left her with some bitter memories of a not altogether successful personal life.


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