Bette & Joan

  • July 8, 2016 — August 28, 2016

Bette Davis (1908-1989) and Joan Crawford (1904-1977) were two of classic Hollywood’s most famous and respected leading ladies. Crawford got her start in the silents, first appearing in minor roles in lavish MGM productions, then transitioning to the gritty Warner Bros. films which earned her fame. While Crawford’s performances often appeared over-the-top, she was always psychologically committed to her roles, which grew darker, more villainous and indelible as her career progressed. Davis, on the other hand, worked at Warner for nearly her entire career, establishing herself as Hollywood’s top star and a model for the strong, modern woman. The two stars famously carried on a bitter feud throughout their careers, which became fodder for unending gossip and legendary Hollywood lore. But despite their deep personal animosity, the rivalry pushed each to excel, and between them they achieved some of the highest highs in some of the most memorable roles that we have had the good fortune to enjoy.

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All About Eve

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Bette Davis picked up a justified “late-career” Academy Award nomination (her eighth) for her role as Margo Channing, a famous

Beyond the Forest

Directed by King Vidor

After an extremely successful 18-year run at Warner Bros., Davis’s work for the studio ended on a bitter note with

Daisy Kenyon

Directed by Otto Preminger

On loan to Fox, Joan Crawford delivers yet another tour-de-force performance (one of the greatest of her career) as the

Dangerous

Directed by Alfred E. Green

Bette Davis won her first Academy Award for her portrayal of Joyce Heath, a Broadway actress down on her luck

Dark Victory

Directed by Edmund Goulding

Dark Victory is a highly emotional, unforgiving piece of classical cinema about the choices one might make when learning of

Grand Hotel

Directed by Edmund Goulding

Featuring a veritable who’s-who of MGM royalty during the studio’s heyday, including an ascendant Greta Garbo, Barrymores John and Lionel,

Humoresque

Directed by Jean Negulesco

Featuring a soundtrack packed to the gills with famed classical compositions, Humoresque gave Joan Crawford the opportunity to ascend the

Jezebel

Directed by William Wyler

Her role in Wyler’s sensitive Antebellum drama garnered Bette Davis the second—and somewhat shockingly, final—Oscar of her burgeoning career, unforgettably

Johnny Guitar

Directed by Nicholas Ray

Widely cited as an allegory for the anti-Communist hearings overseen by the House Un-American Activities Committee that led to the

Mildred Pierce

Directed by Michael Curtiz

Following her early career at MGM, Joan Crawford moved to Warner Bros. in 1944, with Mildred Pierce her first starring

Now, Voyager

Directed by Irving Rapper

Another film-carrying performance, another Academy Award nomination for Bette Davis—her fifth in five consecutive years—for Now, Voyager, one of the

Possessed

Directed by Curtis Bernhardt

Joan Crawford was nominated for an Academy Award—only the second of her long and distinguished career—for her role as Louise

Sudden Fear

Directed by David Miller

Joan Crawford stars alongside noir mainstays Gloria Grahame and Jack Palance (both excellent) in this suspenseful, doomed love triangle directed

The Letter

Directed by William Wyler

This second adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s 1927 stage play features Bette Davis’ turn as Leslie Crosbie, an adulterous yet

The Little Foxes

Directed by William Wyler

The Little Foxes was the final collaboration of Bette Davis and William Wyler, a tumultuous creative—and sometimes romantic—partnership that brought

The Women

Directed by George Cukor

Though its focus on modern women’s lives unfortunately made The Women a relative outlier in the 1930s Hollywood pantheon, this

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Directed by Robert Aldrich

Robert Aldrich directs one of the most mythical productions in Hollywood history, the lone film which co-starred longtime personal and