In This Our Life Reviews

  • Oct 18, 2020

    Bette Davis' "Stanley" was so horrible! (But the woman could act. And so could Olivia deHavilland. Hollywood (and the rest of us) will miss these women.)

    Bette Davis' "Stanley" was so horrible! (But the woman could act. And so could Olivia deHavilland. Hollywood (and the rest of us) will miss these women.)

  • Aug 24, 2020

    Directors: John Huston, Raoul Walsh (uncredited) Writers: Howard Koch (screenplay), Ellen Glasgow (novel) Stars: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland------- This is an impressively splendid melodrama. Featuring two of Hollywood's greatest actresses (both dual Oscar winners) in Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. Stanley (Bette Davis) and Roy (Olivia de Havilland) Timberlake are sisters. (The origin of their masculine names is never explained). Stanley is a wild thing famous for careening around in the car her uncle gave her. Spoiled rotten, the wealthy Stanley runs roughshod over her sister. The day before her wedding (Davis) steals her sister's (De Havilland) husband. The limit comes when Stanley, driving in excess of the speed limit, strikes two pedestrian causing serious Carnage. Bette Davis better is at best when she is bad; and she is really rotten here. Olivia De Havilland's calm and lady-like but strong performance is a perfect foil to Davis's histrionics. .Ms. De Havilland is an actress that always played convincingly in everything she did, as is the case here. It was such a treat to watch two of Hollywood's greatest actresses on screen together. 8/10

    Directors: John Huston, Raoul Walsh (uncredited) Writers: Howard Koch (screenplay), Ellen Glasgow (novel) Stars: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland------- This is an impressively splendid melodrama. Featuring two of Hollywood's greatest actresses (both dual Oscar winners) in Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. Stanley (Bette Davis) and Roy (Olivia de Havilland) Timberlake are sisters. (The origin of their masculine names is never explained). Stanley is a wild thing famous for careening around in the car her uncle gave her. Spoiled rotten, the wealthy Stanley runs roughshod over her sister. The day before her wedding (Davis) steals her sister's (De Havilland) husband. The limit comes when Stanley, driving in excess of the speed limit, strikes two pedestrian causing serious Carnage. Bette Davis better is at best when she is bad; and she is really rotten here. Olivia De Havilland's calm and lady-like but strong performance is a perfect foil to Davis's histrionics. .Ms. De Havilland is an actress that always played convincingly in everything she did, as is the case here. It was such a treat to watch two of Hollywood's greatest actresses on screen together. 8/10

  • Aug 23, 2020

    US racism is disgusting so this 1942 film is interesting. Davis is fab with a terrible role, script... read the book.

    US racism is disgusting so this 1942 film is interesting. Davis is fab with a terrible role, script... read the book.

  • Sep 19, 2019

    Bette Davis is amazing, as always. Even when playing an irredeemable sociopath, she is so charismatic, arresting and fascinating, she owns the screen. You can't keep your eyes off of her. George Brent is always good, even in this thankless role. Also pretty amazing is the storyline exposing and condemning racism...this in 1942! While Mr. Huston was obviously smitten with Olivia DeHavilland, she fails to impress in this movie.

    Bette Davis is amazing, as always. Even when playing an irredeemable sociopath, she is so charismatic, arresting and fascinating, she owns the screen. You can't keep your eyes off of her. George Brent is always good, even in this thankless role. Also pretty amazing is the storyline exposing and condemning racism...this in 1942! While Mr. Huston was obviously smitten with Olivia DeHavilland, she fails to impress in this movie.

  • Antonius B Super Reviewer
    Sep 08, 2018

    Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davis are sisters named Roy and Stanley in this film from director John Huston, and surprise surprise, Davis is conniving and de Havilland is virtuous. In a mirror relationship, their father (Frank Craven) is a nice guy who has been taken advantage of by his loud-mouthed business partner, his own brother-in-law (Charles Coburn). We get a glimpse of the character of Davis and Coburn when she flirts with him and he showers gifts on her, expecting a kiss on the lips in return. It's a creepy relationship that we'll see resurface a few times in the film. Early on, we find de Havilland married to a doctor (Dennis Morgan), and Davis engaged to a lawyer (George Brent). de Havilland is faithfully devoted to her husband, so imagine her shock when she discovers that, out of the blue, one day he's run away with her own sister. I won't say too much more about the plot lest I spoil it, but suffice to say that Davis's character doesn't stop there. Bette Davis is as entertaining as ever. At her best in the film, she's playing a manipulative character who is essentially acting, but not acting quite as well as a professional would. We basically see a great actor portraying a character who is only a good actor. At her worst in the film, which is still pretty darn good, she over-acts, or at the very least, pushes the limits of the character. de Havilland is a contrast both because of her role, and her more subdued approach. It's interesting to see her process being abandoned, hardening and becoming guarded a bit, but also living in the moment and remaining true to herself. What a nice little exchange she has when she starts seeing Brent's character: Roy (de Havilland): "There's nothing permanent but now. The moment. That's all there is." Craig (Brent): "There'll be other moments. And there'll be other days. I'm not going to lose you." Roy: "You'll only lose me if you try to hold me. Don't do that..." In Charles Coburn, we see the classic successful capitalist, a man with few scruples and who will stop at nothing to come out on top. No wonder he gets along with Davis's character so well; he betrays his own brother-in-law, and she betrays her own sister. We see his view of the common man (and non-caucasians) in these lines: "He's coming by for me later. Probably one of those civil-liberty affairs. Civil liberty. Ha! If you ask me, they're concerned only with liberty for the wrong people." "Who are the wrong people, William?" "The people who aren't worth a cent and never will be, that's who." And that's what clinches the film for me - aside from de Havilland, Davis, and Huston, it's got a quiet little social message, and stands up for African-Americans. We see a young man (Ernest Anderson) studying a law book late at night to advance in the world, because, as he puts it: "...a white boy, he can take most any kind of job and improve himself. Well, like in this store. Maybe he can get to be a clerk or a manager. But a colored boy, he can't do that. He can keep a job or he can lose a job. But he can't get any higher up. So he's got to figure out something he can do that no one can take away. And that's why I want to be a lawyer." It's wonderful to see de Havilland encourage him after he says this, and at first that seems to be just an interesting little side note in the film, but the character resurfaces later. After he's made it in a law office, he's falsely imprisoned when it's his word vs. a white person's (being vague on purpose). While the eventual jailhouse confrontation scene is a little contrived, Huston's panning across other African-American prisoners can't help but make at least a part of the audience wonder how many of them may also be innocent, and there is no ambiguity in the overall moral message of the scene. Anderson is earnest in his performance, and Hattie McDaniel (as his mom) is as well. The film is a little over-the-top and melodramatic in places, and it strains credibility by just how easily Davis is accepted by the family after what she does. It does rile us up a bit though, and I was mesmerized by these two legends. The thought occurred to me as I was watching it that it would have been more interesting had the two actresses been in each other's role, since they are a bit typecast here. Entertaining film though, and look for the cameo from Huston's father, Walter.

    Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davis are sisters named Roy and Stanley in this film from director John Huston, and surprise surprise, Davis is conniving and de Havilland is virtuous. In a mirror relationship, their father (Frank Craven) is a nice guy who has been taken advantage of by his loud-mouthed business partner, his own brother-in-law (Charles Coburn). We get a glimpse of the character of Davis and Coburn when she flirts with him and he showers gifts on her, expecting a kiss on the lips in return. It's a creepy relationship that we'll see resurface a few times in the film. Early on, we find de Havilland married to a doctor (Dennis Morgan), and Davis engaged to a lawyer (George Brent). de Havilland is faithfully devoted to her husband, so imagine her shock when she discovers that, out of the blue, one day he's run away with her own sister. I won't say too much more about the plot lest I spoil it, but suffice to say that Davis's character doesn't stop there. Bette Davis is as entertaining as ever. At her best in the film, she's playing a manipulative character who is essentially acting, but not acting quite as well as a professional would. We basically see a great actor portraying a character who is only a good actor. At her worst in the film, which is still pretty darn good, she over-acts, or at the very least, pushes the limits of the character. de Havilland is a contrast both because of her role, and her more subdued approach. It's interesting to see her process being abandoned, hardening and becoming guarded a bit, but also living in the moment and remaining true to herself. What a nice little exchange she has when she starts seeing Brent's character: Roy (de Havilland): "There's nothing permanent but now. The moment. That's all there is." Craig (Brent): "There'll be other moments. And there'll be other days. I'm not going to lose you." Roy: "You'll only lose me if you try to hold me. Don't do that..." In Charles Coburn, we see the classic successful capitalist, a man with few scruples and who will stop at nothing to come out on top. No wonder he gets along with Davis's character so well; he betrays his own brother-in-law, and she betrays her own sister. We see his view of the common man (and non-caucasians) in these lines: "He's coming by for me later. Probably one of those civil-liberty affairs. Civil liberty. Ha! If you ask me, they're concerned only with liberty for the wrong people." "Who are the wrong people, William?" "The people who aren't worth a cent and never will be, that's who." And that's what clinches the film for me - aside from de Havilland, Davis, and Huston, it's got a quiet little social message, and stands up for African-Americans. We see a young man (Ernest Anderson) studying a law book late at night to advance in the world, because, as he puts it: "...a white boy, he can take most any kind of job and improve himself. Well, like in this store. Maybe he can get to be a clerk or a manager. But a colored boy, he can't do that. He can keep a job or he can lose a job. But he can't get any higher up. So he's got to figure out something he can do that no one can take away. And that's why I want to be a lawyer." It's wonderful to see de Havilland encourage him after he says this, and at first that seems to be just an interesting little side note in the film, but the character resurfaces later. After he's made it in a law office, he's falsely imprisoned when it's his word vs. a white person's (being vague on purpose). While the eventual jailhouse confrontation scene is a little contrived, Huston's panning across other African-American prisoners can't help but make at least a part of the audience wonder how many of them may also be innocent, and there is no ambiguity in the overall moral message of the scene. Anderson is earnest in his performance, and Hattie McDaniel (as his mom) is as well. The film is a little over-the-top and melodramatic in places, and it strains credibility by just how easily Davis is accepted by the family after what she does. It does rile us up a bit though, and I was mesmerized by these two legends. The thought occurred to me as I was watching it that it would have been more interesting had the two actresses been in each other's role, since they are a bit typecast here. Entertaining film though, and look for the cameo from Huston's father, Walter.

  • Jul 12, 2016

    1942's "In This Our Life," directed by a "The Maltese Falcon" fresh John Huston, finds Bette Davis at her most ... Bette Davis. In the film (spoilers ahead), she steals her sister's husband, dramatically berates a number of men just to make them feel small, drunk drives and hits a mother and daughter, gets in a high speed chase, and, to our dismay, dies prematurely at the film's end by recklessly zooming off a cliff, her car exploding in the aftermath. All this, to our surprise, happens in just ninety-seven minutes. So "In This Our Life" is melodrama at its cheapest and most overwrought, but boring it isn't. Forgettable and overly preachy in its differentiations in righteousness, maybe, but when you have Davis as your villain and Olivia De Havilland as your angel in white, sneaky shoddiness is prolific yet hardly noticeable. We're too busy cackling and cracking asides to care about how manipulative, how transparent, the film really is. Its plot, however laughably twisty it is, is killer. The thrills of the film all derive from the personal lives of Roy and Stanley Timberlake (De Havilland and Davis), a pair of sisters whose respective journeys in finding true love have been cyclonic, to put it lightly. Not because both are born lonelyhearts, but because Stanley, who exists to do little else besides cause mayhem, is incapable of falling for someone naturally and wholesomely: swiping another woman's property and ruining the life of another is more her speed. Early on in "In This Our Life," Stanley victimizes the unsuspecting Roy by seducing - and then running off with - her betrothed (Dennis Morgan). But as this is a soap opera in which one sister must be bad and one must be good, Roy takes the high road and moves on with her life, finding romance with, to our liking, the spouse Stanley left behind. Stanley, in the meantime, continues on her rampage of destruction. All she can do, it seems, is cause trouble and dig herself a deeper grave. On an overarching level, though, going over "In This Our Life's" timeline of flabbergasting events in detail ruins its bracing methods of entertainment. Perhaps it's no different than your average daytime soap, just lensed in black-and-white and given shiny studio treatment. But I'm not the first person to admit that even the rankest of melodrama is highly watchable, and "In This Our Life," putting aside the way its characters are nothing more than classic soaper stereotypes with inevitabilities to undergo, is of better quality than it should be. In addition to its solid direction from Huston and the wide-eyed bewilderment that is Davis's delightfully campy leading performance, the film also realistically touches upon racial discrimination in the 1940s, a landmark for a film that would otherwise be jocularly crazy and comprehensively forgettable. But diamonds found within rough movies are not uncommon, and at least this one builds a wall of magnificent hamminess to assist its social commentary.

    1942's "In This Our Life," directed by a "The Maltese Falcon" fresh John Huston, finds Bette Davis at her most ... Bette Davis. In the film (spoilers ahead), she steals her sister's husband, dramatically berates a number of men just to make them feel small, drunk drives and hits a mother and daughter, gets in a high speed chase, and, to our dismay, dies prematurely at the film's end by recklessly zooming off a cliff, her car exploding in the aftermath. All this, to our surprise, happens in just ninety-seven minutes. So "In This Our Life" is melodrama at its cheapest and most overwrought, but boring it isn't. Forgettable and overly preachy in its differentiations in righteousness, maybe, but when you have Davis as your villain and Olivia De Havilland as your angel in white, sneaky shoddiness is prolific yet hardly noticeable. We're too busy cackling and cracking asides to care about how manipulative, how transparent, the film really is. Its plot, however laughably twisty it is, is killer. The thrills of the film all derive from the personal lives of Roy and Stanley Timberlake (De Havilland and Davis), a pair of sisters whose respective journeys in finding true love have been cyclonic, to put it lightly. Not because both are born lonelyhearts, but because Stanley, who exists to do little else besides cause mayhem, is incapable of falling for someone naturally and wholesomely: swiping another woman's property and ruining the life of another is more her speed. Early on in "In This Our Life," Stanley victimizes the unsuspecting Roy by seducing - and then running off with - her betrothed (Dennis Morgan). But as this is a soap opera in which one sister must be bad and one must be good, Roy takes the high road and moves on with her life, finding romance with, to our liking, the spouse Stanley left behind. Stanley, in the meantime, continues on her rampage of destruction. All she can do, it seems, is cause trouble and dig herself a deeper grave. On an overarching level, though, going over "In This Our Life's" timeline of flabbergasting events in detail ruins its bracing methods of entertainment. Perhaps it's no different than your average daytime soap, just lensed in black-and-white and given shiny studio treatment. But I'm not the first person to admit that even the rankest of melodrama is highly watchable, and "In This Our Life," putting aside the way its characters are nothing more than classic soaper stereotypes with inevitabilities to undergo, is of better quality than it should be. In addition to its solid direction from Huston and the wide-eyed bewilderment that is Davis's delightfully campy leading performance, the film also realistically touches upon racial discrimination in the 1940s, a landmark for a film that would otherwise be jocularly crazy and comprehensively forgettable. But diamonds found within rough movies are not uncommon, and at least this one builds a wall of magnificent hamminess to assist its social commentary.

  • Jan 15, 2015

    I got a life to live and I'm going to live it. Stanley Timberlake is a spoiled niece of a rich business man who dumps her fiancé one night and runs off with her sister's husband. They head into the city and find life harder than they anticipated. The husband kills himself leading to Stanley coming crawling back to her family. When her family doesn't welcome her with open arms, life becomes hard for Stanley. "She isn't like that." "I don't know what anyone's like." John Huston, director of Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, The African Queen, Annie (1982), The Man Who Would be King, Key Largo, The Asphalt Jungle, and Prizzi's Honor, delivers In this Our Life. The storyline for this picture is very compelling, well delivered, and reminded me of The Long Hot Summer with Paul Newman the way the characters were crossed and frustrated. The acting was outstanding and the cast includes Bette Davis, Charles Coburn, Olivia de Havilland, Billie Burke, and Hattie McDaniel. "It's conceivable two people could leave the house the same night and not leave together." I DVR'd this picture off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) some time ago because it was directed by legendary John Huston and was led by strong female performances. The plot sounded interesting and I can tell you it is delivered very well. Davis plays her character to perfection and the sub plots were very well delivered. I strongly recommend seeing this film. "I can't think when you're this close to me." "Then hold me closer. I don't want you to think." Grade: A-

    I got a life to live and I'm going to live it. Stanley Timberlake is a spoiled niece of a rich business man who dumps her fiancé one night and runs off with her sister's husband. They head into the city and find life harder than they anticipated. The husband kills himself leading to Stanley coming crawling back to her family. When her family doesn't welcome her with open arms, life becomes hard for Stanley. "She isn't like that." "I don't know what anyone's like." John Huston, director of Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, The African Queen, Annie (1982), The Man Who Would be King, Key Largo, The Asphalt Jungle, and Prizzi's Honor, delivers In this Our Life. The storyline for this picture is very compelling, well delivered, and reminded me of The Long Hot Summer with Paul Newman the way the characters were crossed and frustrated. The acting was outstanding and the cast includes Bette Davis, Charles Coburn, Olivia de Havilland, Billie Burke, and Hattie McDaniel. "It's conceivable two people could leave the house the same night and not leave together." I DVR'd this picture off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) some time ago because it was directed by legendary John Huston and was led by strong female performances. The plot sounded interesting and I can tell you it is delivered very well. Davis plays her character to perfection and the sub plots were very well delivered. I strongly recommend seeing this film. "I can't think when you're this close to me." "Then hold me closer. I don't want you to think." Grade: A-

  • Nov 01, 2014

    If it's good enough for the sinner, it's good enough for the saint... Even John Huston Couldn't Tame Bette Davis--A Film Slightly Ahead Of It's Time About Race Relations and Incest... Bette and Olivia - What More Can You Ask For!!

    If it's good enough for the sinner, it's good enough for the saint... Even John Huston Couldn't Tame Bette Davis--A Film Slightly Ahead Of It's Time About Race Relations and Incest... Bette and Olivia - What More Can You Ask For!!

  • Feb 22, 2014

    This isn't one of Huston's personal films, it is lauded with melodrama and soap operatic moments. What keeps it together is the chemistry and performances of Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland. If you're able to keep away from the nostalgia of Classic Hollywood films, you'll realize the movie is just a step above mediocrity, but good enough to entertain. A typical Classic Hollywood product out of the studio system machine.

    This isn't one of Huston's personal films, it is lauded with melodrama and soap operatic moments. What keeps it together is the chemistry and performances of Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland. If you're able to keep away from the nostalgia of Classic Hollywood films, you'll realize the movie is just a step above mediocrity, but good enough to entertain. A typical Classic Hollywood product out of the studio system machine.

  • Jul 10, 2013

    Complicated and Tragic....

    Complicated and Tragic....