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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.

Genres: Film Noir

Appears in: Bette & Joan