Bette’s Maps to the Stars


From THE STAR. Stuart Heisler’s movie about a fading star is NOT very good — it suffers from galloping conservatism and seems to imagine that Bette giving up her screen career to settle down as a housewife is what we want to see.

But this bit is great camp. I think it’s more or less unconscious, which makes it better. You can see how the writers would think, “She gets drunk and talks to her Oscar, great!” It’s useful for exposition, it all ties in nicely. And Bette fully commits. But I think she knows there’s some humour there. But the thing winds up like the Ultimate Bette Davis Scene, or the Ultimate Bette Davis Impersonation. Great joy.

It’s a very watchable movie. But one of those where you reach the end and it suddenly strikes you how un-good it was — heavy-handed and utterly on the nose, like a punch in the face. Up there with Heisler’s film about Hitler with Richard Basehart, possibly.



6 Responses to “Bette’s Maps to the Stars”

  1. Camp to the tits!

    And dearly beloved of the late great Bette impersonator Charles Pierce.

  2. As for Bette throwing shade on Mitzi Gaynor —

  3. With a little help from Jack Cole, Mitzi could out-camp anyone.

  4. Indeed. And she’s still with us.

  5. chris schneider Says:

    The “C’mon, Oscar!” scene is, shall we say, justly famous. The scary bit that I like, though, is her audition for a film role, the scene where Davis’ character tarts up a walk-on and tries to turn it into star material. Like a how-to for inauthentic, inappropriate acting.

    Subsidiary pleasures: chances to see Barbara Bates, “Phoebe” of ALL ABOUT EVE, and the face (for once) of Paul Frees.

  6. Bette on a bender with Oscar! Wonderful.

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