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Beyond the Forest

  • Directed by King Vidor
  • United States, 1949, 97 mins.

After an extremely successful 18-year run at Warner Bros., Davis’s work for the studio ended on a bitter note with the teetering-on-campy trash masterpiece Beyond the Forest. Even more than most Davis films, Vidor’s creation is a one-woman show, in which she plays the tragic Rosa Moline, a small-town “forgotten woman” and doctor’s (a near-invisible Joseph Cotten) wife. When a businessman comes to town, Rosa, who dreams of big-city life, is immediately infatuated and longs for escape; when she’s spurned on both sides, she veers toward an ignominious fate. Critically divisive upon release but extremely fascinating in its portrayal of a woman without options, this is a film for which the term “re-appraisal” must have been coined. “For all its rampant vulgarity, Beyond the Forest is visually and emotionally alive.”—David Melville, Senses of Cinema. 35mm print courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Appears in: Bette & Joan

Genres: Film Noir

Other Films by King Vidor

The Big Parade

MGM’s largest and most famous production at the time, and one of the highest grossing silent films, King Vidor’s epic follows Jim (John Gilbert, in perhaps his most famous role), a rich, spoiled young man threatened with expulsion from the family home if he fails to enlist for the army on the eve of WWI.