- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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The Great Lie
A well-made soap opera about two strong-willed women. Astor got the meatier part as a self-absorbed pianist, winning an Oscar, over Davis, while Brent plays the oblivious man they both love. Viewers can mostly see what's going to happen before the credits roll, but the story has it's engaging moments. A good film to see from time-to-time. I give it a 3.5/5.
Astor's film throughout!
This film is one of my favorites for so many reasons. The actors, of course, are stellar quality. The music is simply divine. Few know Mary Astor was a concert pianist in her own right and played each of the memorable classical pieces in this film. Considering the year was 1941 when this film was made, seeing women in trousers was quite unique as well. Women didn't begin wearing trousers as a part of their wardrobes until after we entered WWII and they began working in the factories taking the male's places. As usual, Mary Astor plays a despicable jealous diva but she is excellent at it here. (I prefer her more charming character in "Dodsworth.") The best scenes between Bette Davis and Astor are those in the cabin in the woods where they await the clandestine birth of Astor's child. The two actresses just sparkle in these scenes! Great film and 5 stars from me!
Battle of the Divas
- Jery Tillotson
This is a great movie from l941 when Bette Davis was at her zenith and was now regularly referred to as the Fourth Warner Brothers.She wanted a change of pace in her movie roles, having played very intense characters in several masterpieces like "The Little Foxes" and "The Letter." Warner Brothers poured its vast resources into making this entertainment a 5 Star masterpiece and you can see it all on the screen. Beautiful photography, gorgeous wardrobe designed by Orry-Kelly, great settings, locales, and oh, that fabulous music.The beautiful Mary Astor was chosen to play the fiery diva, Sandra Novak--the world famous concert pianist. And Astor gives her fire and fascination--convincing us that she truly is a egomaniacal artist of the first order.Bette Davis takes on the quieter role but there's no doubt she's got strength and power, too.They battle over the sexy, virile George Brent who was in real life the lover of Bette Davis and played beautifully with her in a stream of unforgettable gems. Who can forget him as the immortal Dr. Steele in "Dark Victory."The scenes shot on the remote terrain and cabin have a wonderfully haunting quality as the two women await the birth of the baby fathered by George Brent. When Bette goes behind stage to talk to the pianist, Mary appears wearing a stunning cape that was so much admired by movie-goers back then that it appeared again on Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale when she meets Paul Hendreid at the ship's restaurant in "Now Voyager." When Mary Astor won her Best Supporting role for "The Great Lie" she thanked Bette Davis and later said the great actress gave her the role "on a silver platter," proving that Davis was just as much as concerned about seeing that her co-stars got the deserved credit as she did.
The Great Lie
The Great Lie stars Bette Davis who co stars with George Brent and Mary Astor, also Hattie McDaniel.This movie is a very good movie, it was released in 1941.One detail that makes this movie spectacular is the music, the music in this film gives it this centamatic adventure and drama to the big screen. Mary Astor actually won an Academy Award for best supporting actor. This is a spectacular movie by Warner Bros. and you will not regret watching it.
The Great Lie
- Rick Ferraro
The Great Lie
- Rick Ferraro
Great story, Very well acted with great performances by Bette Davis, Mary Astor and Hattie McDaniel. I saw this one several times on TCM and came to really appreciate Davis and Astor as two of the best in the business.
The great lie
Okay, while i think the acting was great in this movie and the story was captivating, I have just one thing to say. I think it's wonderful how Davis's character is willing to raise another man's child but the fact is that it ties in with the title "the great lie" in the way that while the real mother chose to give up the child, she is still that child's true mother. I personally think that while Davis loves that child and treats him like her own, which is nice, it still needs to be known to people that she did not actually give birth to that child and that child could grow up with some problems if he is not told the truth (hence the name "the great lie"). While it's wonderful how she will raise that child and love that child as her own and be his mother, she will eventually have to come to terms and most likely admit that she did not give birth to him. Overall, the movie was wonderful and the love story was touching.
A Bette Davis & Mary Astor Collaboration
After Bette Davis and Mary Astor read the original script for this motion picture, neither of them thought it was good enough. The remarkable point about that is the two actresses actually rewrote the script together until both of them were satisfied with it! So much is said about actors who don't get along.Little is mentioned about how well they work collaboratively together. In characters, both women are involved with the same man (George Brent). Hattie McDaniel is the other main actor in this wonderful film. What a great plot, superbcharacter acting by all 4 I've mentioned,and a gorgeous musical score. I'm very glad to own this one, particularly to watch Davis and Astor act out so many scenes together. It's easy to see they are a great match acting skill wise.
Collaborating Cast: Davis and Astor
When the two great actresses blended their energies collaboratively, they created one of the finest scripts. Mary Astor and Bette Davis didn't like the original so they re-wrote it together and wound up with an Oscar winner for Astor's supporting role. Many people don't get that major point about the career of Bette Davis. It wasn't all about herself. Far from it. It was all about making great films and elevating everyone's performances to be the best they could be. George Brent is the man who's in between the two women. Astor's his former wife, but they weren't really married. Davis is his true love. Astor's a concert pianist who's career minded. Brent's a pilot whose plane goes missing.During that time, Astor has his child and Davis convinces her to let her raise him as her own. Believing Pete's dead, Little Pete is all Davis has of her beloved. And then, Pete returns. Both women want him back. Yikes. This is a classic triangle of top drawer performances.
Two Great Actors Bring Honor to Women
Great films about women depict them with nobility, realistically and not as withering victims. Bette Davis and Mary Astor join together to portray two different types of women. Astor is a career concert pianist who's fiercely independent. That's a good image to preseent of a woman then, now, and tomorrow. Bette Davis is the wife of a pilot whose plane goes down. As survivor, she wants to raise his child that Astor's character is carrying. The two women make a bargain for Davis to act as the child's mother. Their plan becomes very complicated when the pilot returns home alive and believing the child is his and Davis'. This is a wonderful film. Astor won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Hattie McDaniel plays the child's nanny without becoming a typecast 'mammie'.
Great Cast and Story
When the cast consists of Bette Davis, Mary Astor, George Brent and Hattie McDaniel something would have really had to go amiss for the film to be anything but great. Bette Davis and Mary Astor playing in so many scenes together is what really makes the film a triumph of first rate acting. George Brent is reliably grand with both Davis and Astor. Hattie McDaniel gives her typically scene stealing performance that's both charmingly funny and emotionally tear-jerking. It's the lead performance by Bette Davis that carries "Great Lie" to its upper stature among th era's films.
Readings of the lie
The title's full of plays on two words: lie and great. The lie is a lie, no doubt about that. Davis pretends that her lost then found husband's (Brent)baby by another woman (Astor) is his and hers, not the other woman's. Looking at it one way it's a good lie. Astor didn't want the baby, Davis did and the child got the better home and parenting. Looking at it another way, it's a great big fat lie, whereby Davis is deceiving everyone, even the child's nanny, Hattie McDaniel. The way Davis and Astor both play it, their acts of deception are better for the child since Astor's a concert pianist who's constantly self and career absorbed. By asking what's best for the child, Davis raising him's the right thing to do. The question becomes what will Brent think about it since he's back from being lost and presumed dead. Great music score & acting make this film work very well.
Great acting, no lie
Mary Astor's Oscar-winning acting is the kind with which I have a love-dislike relationship. She's too lovely for words,so's her own piano playing. But, her character is a selfish bi-itch. Davis' character is more loveable by far. Told her husband, Pete's (Geo. Brent) dead, knowing his ex-lover's carrying his child, the grieving wife (Davis) offers to take her husband's child off of Astor's concert pianist hands so that she can stay on touring path and self-centered. Hattie McDaniel, as Little Pete's nanny, rounds out the 4 main characters' with acting finese.
The Great Lie (1941)
Mary Astor gives one of the finest performances ever on film, and she well deserved her Oscar. Bette Davis is excellent as well. This is a 40's soap at it's best, top notch WB production, excellent score. Outstanding in all areas.
Why This Film Appeals to Me
Watching the great acting between Bette Davis and Mary Astor is as good as it gets. The plot's intriguing through to the end. George Brent and Hattie McDaniel give swell performances. Especially McDaniel. The idea that the wife (Bette Davis) of a pilot (Brent) who goes missing and is presumed dead, loves him so much that she wants to raise his child that another woman (Astor) is carrying, her rival in fact, is a beautiful love story. The struggles between the woman who wants the baby and the one who doesn't are top knotch acting.
Davis as the Loving Wife
So in love with Pete (Geo. Brent), Bette Davis' character, Pete's wife, pleads with his self-centered ex (Mary Astor) for his child which she is carrying at the time of Pete's death. The best part of the film is watching two great actors staying in very different characters in the same scenes together, acting as rivals (which they weren't off screen). Davis has to discipline the mother-to-be and care for her every whim, when the expectant mother doesn't even want the child. Davis' character wants to dedicate her life to being the child's mother as his father's loving wife.
Bette Davis never disappoints
Frankly, I can't remember any movie Bette Davis made in the 30s and 40s that I don't enjoy watching over and over. This movie was no exception.
Not until the very last line!
This movie is an unexpectedly sophisticated and dramatic film about women, pitting Bette Davis as a noble wife against Mary Astor as a brilliant concert pianist. (Two great performances playing against type)You don't know which one of them ends up with the baby until the very last line. It is unusual in the way it treats overlooked moments in women's lives, given it was made in 1941. Hattie McDaniels gives an excruciatingly poignant performance in her stereotyped mammie role, without ever losing her dignity.
- Jo Anne Foster
My husband and I watched this movie the other night and were captivated the whole time! This movie is great and in our books better than most modern movies. We would like to own it on DVD and were disappointed to find out that it's not available at this time. Hopefully it will be in the near future.
- Ron Fontenot
Tremendous film. I love it. Although Bette is good in this one, she's still fun to watch. The true star is Mary Astor though. Pay attention to the scene (early in the movie) where Mary Astor makes a telephone call. And, later in the story when mary's character is hungry--look out!! Incredible work by a consummate actress. With bette and Mary fighting over him, even George Brent has life in this one!
The Great Lie
- Wendy Winkler
Mary Astor is wonderful in this movie. She plays the part of Sandra with the right amount of selfishness and vulnerbility. She and Bette Davis work well together and I was happy to read that they got along during the filming. Some of my favorite scenes is when Sandra(Astor) is playing the piano, the late night scene in the kitchen, and when Sandra grips Davis' hand while she is in labor. I am glad that Mary Astor got the Oscar for this role.
- Debbie Crawford
What can I say? The acting in this movie is just awesome! Bette, George, Mary, and Hattie all are great talents in their own rights. I feel Hattie should have been given more meatier roles then maids, but,she even made those roles her own. What are you all waiting on? Put this movie on DVD.