- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Is it art, or hysterical camp? You decide.
According to Miss Davis, Jack Warner forced her to make this film as the last under her Warner Bros. contract because he knew it was trash and would be a flop. I find it difficult to believe that a man as thrifty as Jack Warner would lavish a big production and a top director and star and something he wanted to fail. True, her last three Warner films had floped, but perhaps he thought she could really pull it off and be back on top. Who knows? In truth, she is too old for the role. As she said, Virginia Mayo would have been better. Perhaps, but now, almost 70 years later, it's become one of those characters indelibly linked to Davis, for good or bad. Davis was only 41, but the years of smoking and drinking were beginning to show. Her hair and makeup are atrocious. One critic of the day described her a "stringy haired Madame Bovary." Indeed the story closely follows the plot of Bovary. Bored country doctors wife meets handsome city slicker and can't think of anything else but running away with him. The pot overboils in this overheated melodrama, but Davis is riveting as Rosa Moline. As the overdubbed voice tells us as we watch her sashay through town, "Rosa Moline was always different." Was she ever! She literally leaps into the frame when we first see her, jumping up from her chair in court to exclaim "Why should I kill him, why?" So we already know someone met their demise at Rosa's hands. The plot is too complicated to explain here. Suffice it to say that Davis displays all her famous mannerisms and then some. There are so many great scenes of eye rolling and hair tossing that I can't describe them all. The famous line "What a dump" is from this film, but it's not nearly as campy as Elizabeth Taylor made it in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf. For some reason it's not on DVD and is rarely shown. I was lucky enough to see it once on the big screen during a King Vidor festival. The shimering B/W photography is amazing. It transcends camp to become art.
beyond the forest
- donna corrao
tcm, please show this movie, it has been years, yet you show the same movies over and over and over again, many times more than once in one months time, why? This movie is great. Why so much silent movies, sub-titled movies, foreign movies, etc which have a smaller viewing audience, I don,t get it. This movie should be shown at least twice a year, you've shown many other movies eight to ten times in one year, why is that?
This is NOT a Dump!
- jery tillotson
Until the day she died, Bette Davis never missed a chance to butcher this last movie under her contract with Warner-Brothers. Consequently, people who had never even seen Beyond the Forest became convinced this was a "horrible bomb," as Bette put it. I remember even watching a TV censor on some comedian's late night show describe what a horrible assignment he had that day. When asked the movie he was discussing, he looked around and then chortled: "Beyond the Forest." The comedian and the audience all collapsed in hysteria. They knew the title and its reputation.Beyond the Forest shows Bette Davis at her greatest. Her power to create a frustrated housewife in small town America in the late 1940s is stunning. She wears her dark tresses down to her shoulder, enjoys wearing form-fitting clothes. This was the style back then, even in small towns. I know. I grew up in one in the deep South. Maria Montez and Hedy LaMarr were the style leaders. The belching chimneys of the wood factory are shown as deadly and depressing. Rosa loves to watch the train pass by, going to Chicago. When I saw Beyond the Forest in a revival house in Manhattan in 1980, the theater was jammed with Bette Davis fans. When that powerful ending comes in--to the musical strains of an extraordinary score by legendary Max Steiner--the entire audience stood up and cheered, screamed and, applauded. It was like we had all witnessed something amazing and stunning and unforgettable.TCM, please show us this movie--and get it on DVD where we millions of fans are frantically awaiting it.
Grossly Underrated Film
Dear TCM programmers & Robert Osborne, please air this film. I've been waiting for at least 5 years for it to air on TCM, to no avail. I was hoping it would air last month during the tribute to King Vidor, but no luck. It's Bette Davis' most controversial film, with wildly divergent opinions from viewers. I personally think it's one of her best films, one that has stood the test of time better than her soap operas like Dark Victory or her comedies like The Man Who Came to Dinner. Bette burns up the screen in every frame of this film and is a hoot to watch as Rosa Moline. The dialogue by Lenore Coffee is great. The cinematography is moody & noirish. The plot is out of this world. King Vidor's direction evokes German expressionism. Pauline Kael loved this movie and said "there's not a sane dull scene in this peerless piece of camp." Please give your viewers the supreme pleasure of watching this film!
Over the top!
art imitating life
- charles mark
It is no secret that bette was disatisfied with the movies tat she made between 1946 to 1948/let's say they were hit or miss! Jack warner alos noticed that bette was not noimated for any oscar after her portrayl of fanny skefffington in mr. skeffington/her box office allure was slowly dwindling down after world war II/her ibbest hit for the studio was a stolen life in which she was the producer/then she quietly disabandoned her production company favoring herself in front of the camera/in 1949 she was making 10'000 a week/this was incredible money at the time/jack warner used her weakening box office appeal to make beyond the forest/if she did not, he would put her on suspension/in bette's own life. her unhappiness with her then current husband sherry was on shakey ground/her career at the studio was also coming to a dead halt/thus her dissatisfied portrayl of the one of the most unpleasant characters she ever portayed/in my thoughts bette is really portraying her own dissatisfaction with her life and giving her character of rosa moline more than what she should have/this movie was suppose to be a modest financial effort/no so! bette made sure that this little production would spin out of finanial control-holding up the production just to spte jack warner as she realized this movie would really damage her career/alas, she was given her leaving papers t exit warners/a very happy jack couldnt wait to boot her out! Her performance is wonderful/king vidor directs this production right over the top! i have the book by stuat engstrand! utterly depressing! i found ta copy of this movie on dvd at a site called centerview! mark
Beyond the Forest
It has been MANY years since I last saw this film, which contains Bette's signature line, "What a dump!" For that reason alone, I think it deserves to be aired, for the pleasure of all Bette Davis fans. I do hope TCM (and with a special plea to Host Robert Osborne) will air this very interesting film in the near future. I don't recall there being a dull moment in the entire film! Joseph Cotten, who plays her husband, is always a treat to watch, as well. Personally, I think it has considerable artistic merit and the talent of the actors elevate it--far beyond the forest.
So Want To See Beyond The Forest
- hank west
Not really a review here, just a request (a plea if you will) to show this film. This was Bette Davis' last film under her Warner Brothers contract, and for that reason I feel it's an important film in the Bette canon. If there is ever a decision to do a fourth volume of Bette films on DVD, this would be a great one along with Dangerous, The Corn Is Green, The Sisters and A Stolen Life (A Stolen Life is available to buy individually). I really hope someone will see this, and perhaps get it scheduled. Big BIG Bette fan here, and a big BIG fan of TCM!!!!
Beyond The Forest
only infidelity, murder, misery and despair await!With coal black hair and a cold black heart Ms. Davis never does get beyond the forest or beyond the gutter!
So Over Warner Brothers She'd Do This
Bette Davis didn't want to perform in this film. In fact, she walked off the set and wouldn't come back on until Jack Warner agreed to finally release her from their contract. This is her last contract film with Warner Bros.. It is what is known as a kitchen-sink film noir. This means the morality level is so low that it's darker than darker, everything's thrown in, including the'kitchen sink'. This is exactly the kind of role that Davis detested being put in a position and forced to play by Warners. She was out of there afterwards. This film was condemned as being morally indecent. Davis didn't want to be involved with such films. Joseph Cotten co-stars, Davis didn't think he should play an adulterer because she liked him too much. This film is one that we own and have watched many times. Bette Davis delivers her over-parodied line "what a dump" (especially by Dame Elizabeth Taylor in"...Virginia Woolf." This line of Davis' seems to sum up her real life sentiments about being in the film: Rosa Moline (Bette Davis): "Life in Loyalton is like sitting in the funeral parlor and waitingfor the funeral to begin. No, it's like lying in a coffin and waiting for them to carry you out." No one had to carry Bette Davis off of the Warner's lot. She even made the best out of a film she didn't want to be in, to her credit. Joan Crawford would have been better cast in it. This is her type of film.
Bette Davis's finest hour-and-a-half!
Kitchen-sink noir doesn't get any better than this.
Awesome or Awful?
- Bruce Reber
This is one Bette Davis film that I don't think I've seen. If I did it was a long time ago. Could you please show it on TCM and also put it on DVD. I've heard mixed reviews about "Beyond The Forest", from pretty good to plain awful.I know that it has the classic line "what a dump!" which is spoken by Bette and is also featured in a scene from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" when Elizabeth Taylor (Martha) says the famous line and asks husband Richard Burton (George) what movie it's from, but he can't remember and she says it several times (mimicking Davis) and acts out part of the scene from BTF. Looking forward to seeing it soon (either on TCM or DVD).
Get dvd for Beyond the forest
Please letr me know where i can purchase this title in vhs format!
Camp but Fun.
This certainly is not Bette's finest hour. However, this movie really is a treat to behold, "What A Dumb" line.
- julia williams
I am 70 years old.I am a movie buff.I love the old black and white movies.I have two questions.I saw a movie years ago.I believe it was called Michael Stroganoff.About a man who had no country.I believe the actors name was Anton Driffing.I have for years,tried to get info on this movie.Can you help me?Also I am a big fan of Bette Davis.When will you release Beyond the Forest on dvd?I have most of her movies. Thanks for listening.I'm also a big,big fan of TCM.
Why does TCM never run this?
- walter ego
Maybe the rights have changed hands, but when this was available in VHS, it came out under the Turner Home Video label (you can still nab a copy on eBay now and then). Unless I'm mistaken, TCM has never run it or, at least, not anytime in recent memory. They should. It not defensible as a good movie but it has an interesting visual style and is historically important as Davis' last film under contract at Warner Bros. It's also a good example of big studio filmmaking starting to come untethered in the late 40s/early 50s; the moldy subject matter seems like something from the 20s or 30s but the way its filmed, it's like there's a lunatic loose behind the camera. It's said Davis was miscast, but even in 1949, who would be good casting in a part like this? Essentially, it's like watching a movie with a female female impersonator and for this reason, Davis remains fascinating in it. It's not for nothing Albee uses her characterization of Rosa Moline in the opening moments of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?".
I loved this movie and as a 74 year old grandmother, i thought it was great the 1st time i saw it and have always hoped that i could get a copy of it in VHS form, but have been unable to find it. Any suggestions?
Warners put everything into this flop that is a camp classic. Big star Davis (way too old for the role and begged to get out of it), Joseph Cotton too handsome and nice to be the bumbling guy you should not like, BIG Director Vidor pulled out all the stops with the wildest editing ever (watch the kiss fade into an axe going into a tree and then an admission of pregnancy). The dialogue is hysterical, when David Brian is asked why he came back, he says "I had a taste for venison". The only "venison" he wanted was Bette!! I saw this once on the big screen in a movie theater in Chicago and the ending is almost pornographic when Bette crawls for this huge back lit engine belching out steam. The theater was in hysterics!
Not as bad or as camp as it's made out to be
- John Klintworth
I really love this movie and see it as an American updating of the "Madame Bovary" story. Everything about it is a little downtrodden, the town, the people,the atmosphere. All a recipe for disaster for a woman like Rosa Moline who yearns for something better, more exciting and yet is stuck in a town she hates and in a house she describes as "What a dump". This is a desperately unhappy character and Bette Davis plays her with all the desperation she can muster. The bad black wig is perfect for this character who is decidedly middle aged and a little frumpy but she thinks she's hot stuff and flirts brazenly. Bette Davis hated this movie and thought Virginia Mayo should have done it instead, but I think this movie was just ahead of its time in its portrayal of female middle aged sexual frustration and its consequences. On a lighter note, Davis' scenes with Dona Drake as her maid are hilarious if a little racist at times.
"Beyond the Forest," Bette Davis' final film for Warner Brothers (and in which she delivers the now classic line "What a dump!"), is so bad, it's absolutely wonderful! And you haven't lived until you've seen Ms. Davis do-si-do in wedgies! Swing your partner!