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The Little Foxes

The Little Foxes (1941)


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Release Date: Aug 21, 1941 Limited



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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 3,359

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Movie Info

Playwright Lillian Hellman first wrote of the horrible Hubbard family in her 1939 play The Little Foxes. In this lavish 1941 film version, Bette Davis takes over for Broadway's Tallulah Bankhead in the role of conniving turn-of-the-century Southern aristocrat Regina Hubbard Giddens. Regina's equally odious brothers (Charles Dingle and Carl Benton Reid) want her to lend them 75,000 dollars to help build a cotton mill. To do this, she must make peace with her long-estranged husband, Horace

Sep 18, 2001


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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (0) | DVD (3)

When viewed today, the hysterical melodrama seems creaky.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Significantly (and surprisingly) the nasty tone of Hellman's morality drama about corruption and greed in a Southern clan remained intact, allowing Bette Davis (in a role that Bankhead originated on stage) to shine as the amoral and immoral matriarch

November 16, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

One of the best films ever made.

January 29, 2004
Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

The Little Foxes is worth seeing for a number of reasons from its beautiful and innovative cinematography to the striking and mordantly witty screenplay.

August 13, 2003 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

A sharp and entertaining adaptation of the Lillian Hellman play.

December 17, 2002
Nitrate Online

A classic example of how a play can be successfully adapted into a movie.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source:

Sharply written, insightful and still timely study of turn of the century antebellum avarice.

November 6, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for The Little Foxes

This is no doubt Bette Davis is an inimitable force when it comes to dramatic acting, but the story of a poisoned family clan fighting over money and female empowerment just doesn't interest me that much. Watch this movie for the performances, but this is neither Davis's or Wyler's best film.
January 14, 2009

Super Reviewer

I actually found this movie version a tad more interesting than the play version that I saw. They added a love interest for the young daughter and he was a goof which lightened the mood at times with some comedy.
September 26, 2008

Super Reviewer

the fable of little foxes craving for the sweet vines then wrecking the town is adequate for the story. bette davis plays another power-thirsty strong female who solicits what she wants at any cost. davis's role is an eager opportunist who is desperate to hold everything right upon her palm. davis looks mostly glamourous in the southern belle constume shined with matron glitter if her character is not so gluttonishly greedy, audience might take further heed of. and our dear bette's wardrobe is endorsed again by orry-kelly who also attributes bette's glamour in "marked woman."

"there're people who do bad things and also people who just stand there and let them do it" demonstrates the spirit of this play. regina and her philistine siblings are the little foxes who ruin the country with their conscienceless exploitations on the common folks. the entire story centers on the mergence of one valuably built business which would realize every ambition and dream regina has had. but her husband is a great hindrance becuz of his reluctance to make a fortune by squeezing out workers' labour. so she holds grudges against him by confiding her long-harbored contempts on him for being a gullible soft fool since the beginning of their marriage that serves a catalyptic shock to deteriorate his heart issue. steal-hearted regina refuses to aid him with his medicine becuz he would spoil her scheme to blackmail her siblings as long as he's alive. so regina obtains everything but her daughter's affinity. eventually regina observes her daughter's departure with a ghastly frown gaze, left alone lost in the room her husband just demises at.

davis' regina is not really a great evil menace but more of egoist who yearns for things but bound by her gender and limited resources. she awaits long with this angst which turns her incorrigible. one scene regina glimpses the picture of her youth with scowl and sighs hidden tight beneath her solid surface. she has no intention to manipulate her daughter, and actually she practices things with basic decency as long as no one poses as obstacle to block her access, she would be in good humbor to perform duties, even without a bit of genuine compassion or tenderness.

as regina's daughter, teresa wright is always a good casting choice to play the innocent ingeuine, and wright has a natural virtuous grace upon her without contrivance that is competent for good-girl roles like this, such as another her good performance in hitchcock "shadow of a doubt".

this flick is great parable of capitalist breaching the world little by little with their sly wits to drill thru the loothole of laws. but pathetically others are just bystanders to connive their sins.
December 26, 2007
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

if you like bette when she's bad she's a pit viper here
April 4, 2007
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • The Little Foxes (1941) (DE)
  • The Little Foxes (UK)
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