I love old movies. Honestly, the older the better. I’ve got a love of old Hollywood, too. There’s something fantastic about the dream factory.
When I stumbled on an old Bette Davis movie, All This, and Heaven Too, I had to tune in.
I love Bette Davis. There’s a certain power and provocativeness in her performances and this book was no exception. She’s playing a young governess for French children and falls in love with their father. Now this would actually translate well into modern day storytelling because there have been plenty of stories where the husband runs off with the babysitter. The difference is the innocence. During the time of this story, the 19th century, I’m sure men ran off with the babysitter, but it wasn’t as blatant. It wasn’t discussed. Davis plays this role with that innocence. As a person, she wasn’t the innocent, but she portrayed it well. I felt for her throughout the movie. I felt how hard she tried to hide her desire for the Count and how much she knew it was wrong, despite him pushing the envelope.
Charles Boyer plays the Duc de Praslin, a man in a tough place. His wife, although still with him, is estranged from him. The scandal of them separating is too much for her. But she’s a taskmaster and cold to her children. She’s even colder to him. It’s a wonder he’s put up with it for so long. When Davis comes into his life, she’s a breath of fresh air. She helps save the Duc’s son and helps the children feel wanted again.
But this isn’t a sweet and wonderful story. Not all the way through. What Davis has to endure isn’t pretty. The Duc, after finally getting fed up with the Duchess, does something horrible. When she’s not seen for a while, the scandal gets out. Davis is eventually outted for her liaison with the Duc. Where she’s put in jail and on trial, he keeps the kids. It doesn’t have a pretty ending and let’s just say, he doesn’t pay as much as she does for the ‘crimes’.
It’s a great movie, but long, so be sure you’ve got time to watch it, but strap in for an interesting ride. It’s worth the time.