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In This Our Life
In This Our Life
Actors: Bette Davis, Olivia De Havilland, George Brent, Dennis Morgan, Charles Coburn
Director: John Huston
NR     1hr 37min

AN AUTHENTIC REGION 1 DVD FROM WARNER BROTHERS. — SYNOPSIS: — What Stanley Timberlake wants, she takes. So, on the eve of her marriage to another, she runs off with her sister's husband, the first of many betrayals that lead...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Bette Davis, Olivia De Havilland, George Brent, Dennis Morgan, Charles Coburn
Director: John Huston
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1942
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 04/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"No one is better, more entertaining or more riveting than Bette Davis when she is playing a truly bad to the bone woman. To borrow a line from Mae West that certainly applies to Miss Davis as she tears up the screen and the first few rows of the theater in "In This Our Life", "When I'm good, I'm good. But when I am bad I'm better." Very few characters in film history are worse than Stanley Timberlake (Davis).

"In This Our Life" is a standard 1940's family melodrama cock full of wonderful performances by both major players and a myriad of great character actors. Olivia De Havilland as Bette's sister Roy Timberlake is her usual sweet self but buy the end of the film the evil that Bette has unleashed on her family and anyone with in a fifty mile radius of New Orleans turns her as hard as steel. This is a great performance by Miss De Havilland in an often over shadowed role. But come on! It is understandable that Bette takes the cake, the table, the groom and the church away from De Havilland in this movie.

Charles Colburn is so utterly slimy, creepy and perfect as Stanley's manipulative uncle. And the truly evil core of his nature is bone chillingly fun to watch as he plays out his scenes with his favorite nice. But wait...wait until the end. One of the screens greatest moments comes when a desperate Davis beseeches Colburn to save her sorry skin. It is like dying and going to movie heaven when this scene rolls up like a hissing snake in a long black hearse.

Also on hand is the incomparable Hattie McDaniel. She is a joy to behold in any film she inhabits and demonstrates her great talent, humor and grace as she plays her ever-loyal servant role who knows all the skeletons of the family to perfection. George Brent appears as a stalwart George Brent ever ready to support the queen of the Warner's lot. Billy Burke is fun as always as Bette and Olivia's bedridden mother. And rounding out a great supporting cast is the brilliant Lee Patrick who should be remembered more than she is as a brilliant player in films.

But the film belongs to Davis as she scales the heights of melodrama to a near fatal altitude. An absolutely fun movie that will entertain you long after it has collapsed in complete exhaustion at it's over the top and utterly satisfying ending.

In This Our Life
ClassicMovieFan | 09/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"GREAT Bette Davis movie..very risque for it's time but
not now. It's one of those movies where something is going
on all the time and all relates in some way. You can get
quite involved with the plot...this is CLASSIC Bette Davis!"
Second-rate Davis is still pretty good.
Westley | Stuck in my head | 11/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland star as sisters in 1942's "In This Our Life." Adapted from the Pulitzer-winning novel by Ellen Glasgow, the movie follows the scheming, seductive Stanley Timberlake (Davis) and the havoc she wreaks on her family, including her "good," stoic sister Roy Timberlake (de Havilland). (Interestingly, the movie never mentions why they have male names). The sisters come from a neurotic, weak branch of their family. The Timberlakes lost most of their money and the family business has been taken over by the Fitzroy branch of the family. Fortunately, Stanley has old Uncle William Fitzroy wrapped around her finger - the two are disturbingly close. It becomes clear that what Stanley wants, Stanley gets. Within the first few minutes of the movie, Stanley has jilted her fiancée, Craig (played by the always reliable George Brent), and stolen her sister's husband, Peter (played by the handsome Dennis Morgan), leaving the already weakened family totally gutted. Soon Roy turns to Craig for comfort, which seems destined for tragedy.

Davis and de Havilland were two of the biggest stars of the 1940s, and they had worked together once before on "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex." They were apparently friends and worked together years later on the ghoulish "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964). The movie is only the second by director John Huston (following "The Maltese Falcon"), and one can view many of his trademark touches. The topic matter is relatively rare for him - "In This Our Life" is the kind of 1940s so-called "woman's picture" that one would expect from a George Cuckor. However, Huston approaches his work here with gusto and flair, which keeps things moving along quickly. Perhaps a bit too quickly; the film attempts to pack in a number of subplots and isn't able to do all of them justice. Likewise, the storylines are sometimes choppy and lurch forward in time without much hint as to how things changed. In addition, the subplot concerning the family's young African-American helper (Parry) is given somewhat short shrift. However, the sensitivity with which this plotline is handled is somewhat atypical of movies of this period.

Allegedly, Davis was fond of trashing "In This Our Life," which perhaps is not surprising considering the many unkind reviews of her performance, which often teeters on going over-the-top. Yes, this is a Davis performance where she bugs her eyes, shouts, and flounces a lot - the kind of on-screen behavior that subsequent impersonators have seized upon. However, the role and Huston's direction veer toward melodrama, so I don't think that Davis' performance is inappropriate here. Instead, it helps contrast very starkly her character with de Havilland's controlled Roy. De Havilland does a great job, and the film is stocked with first-rate character actors, including Charles Coburn (as the somewhat lecherous Uncle William), Billie Burke (as the neurotic mother), and Hattie McDaniel (as Parry's distraught mother).

"In This Our Life" is an interesting movie, made all the more intriguing by the inclusion of a subplot that is quite sympathetic (for its time) toward African-Americans. The film is several notches below the best work of Davis and de Havilland, but seeing the two of them work together is fascinating. Their contrasting acting styles could have been rather jarring but ends up working for the movie. The DVD extras include an illuminating commentary track by film historian Jeanine Basinger. I don't always listen to these historical commentaries as they can tend to be pedantic, but this one is particularly well-done.
I love Bette Davis - she does such great b*tch!
Terry M. Callen | Gloucester City, NJ United States | 09/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I think the film was ahead of its time in the manner in which it dealt with race relations. It also got very close to talking about incest (Stanley's creepy relationship with her Uncle William).

I love pretty much everything Bette Davis is in, but she does great b*tch in this film.

Olivia DeHavilland was so beautiful in this, George Brent (as always) was wonderful and Dennis Morgan played the cheating husband destroyed by the object of his desire perfectly. Billie Burke played the whining hypochondriac mother to the hilt.

Terrific movie!"