- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
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Mother Kennedy: Bette Davis
Aimeee Simple McPherson (Faye Dunaway) was a sheister evangelist who got caught.Her mother, Mother Kennedy (Bette Davis),was just as bad, if not more conniving, than her pretensious daughter. Together they conned hundreds of thousands of dollars out of religious followers who were duped by the duo. McPherson's undoing came after she disappeared in 1929. Mother Kennedy acted as if her daughter had drown in the ocean where she was last seen by a loyal employee. Much of the film is spent in the court room after McPherson resurfaces and the duo are put on trial for the equivalent of extortion. Davis gives one of her best performances of latter life. This film is well worth owning to watch repeatedly.
Davis & Dunaway Dynamics
On the surface this made for TV movie seems to be about the disappearance, in 1929, of the Christian evangelist, Sister Aimee Simple McPherson (Faye Dunaway). What's really going on in the film is a study of the relationship between McPherson & Mother Kennedy (Bette Davis acting as McPherson's mom). If ever a woman had a motive to run away,Sister Aimee had the kind of mother to flee from. Mother Kennedy is the one who really runs the 'show' (church). She monitors who her adult daughter talks with over the phone & sees; especially ifthey are men. Much of the film is spent examining the dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship, before McPherson'sdisappearance & after she resurfaces claiming to have been kidnapped. The court charges both mother & daughter withconspiring to extort money from the congregation under the presumption that their beloved pastor is dead. Mother Kennedy brings in close to half a million$ from followers who believe she's lost her daughter. Davis & Dunaway take the tension they really feel towards one another & project it into each character.The acting is brilliantly done.
Powerhouse Performance by Bette Davis
Even with Faye Dunaway doing her darnedest to grab as many scenes of this film as she possibly could, all of her efforts didn't work. Bette Davis turned in such a stunning performance that evevn Dunaway (a great character actor) couldn't keep command over center stage. This TV movie (on VHS) is based on the true story of Christian evangelist, Aimee Simple McPherson's disappearance in 1929, which she claimed was a kidnapping right out of the ocean. Bette Davis plays her very controlling side kick (or thorn in her side?) Mother Kennedy (McPherson's mother). Much of the film is either in 'church' or court, as McPhearson & Kennedy are tried for defrauding the public of millions under the pretense that McPherson was dead. This is a must see Bette Davis performance and a half.
Davis Steals the Show
Although Bette Davis plays "Mother Kennedy" to Faye Dunaway's Aimee McPherson, it's the acting talent of Bette Davis (at 68 years of age) that shines and stands out so far beyond everyone else in the cast that she not only makes the show, she steals it. This is a Davis performance not to be missed.
Dunaway and Davis: An Unlikely Duo
It's no secret, since Bette Davis herself published it in an autobiography of hers, that she was tried and tested while working with Faye Dunaway on this made-for-television movie. Davis plays the meddlesome mother of Christian evangelist charlatan, Aimee McPhearson. This is not a biography about McPhearson and her mother's relationship. It is about the evangelist's scandalous disappearance in 1926. Because she claims to have been kidnapped, there's a very intense court case that's a psychological study of a woman who's at odds with two passions: physical and spiritual. Davis' performance is phenomenal.
Dunaway and Davis: McPherson's Dramatism
Faye Dunaway stars in this made for television, based on true life story of Christian evangelist Sister Aimee McPherson and he temporary disappearance.Bette Davis stars as her domineering mother. Apparently, Miss Davis didn't enjoy her experience on set with Miss Dunaway, stating that she was an"exasperating" actor to work with. As Sister Aimee, Dunaway probably has the character of the evangelist down pat. But, "Sister McPherson" isn't a person I'd have been fond of at all. She seems like a religious charlatan. Davis is the more realistic of the two. It's east to believe that there are mothers like McPherson's and Davis is the actor who makes that belief seem so. The hallmark of great acting is making it believable.
Bette Davis wrote of Faye Dunaway, "she was a most exasperating co-star." As 'Sister' Aimee McPhearson, the evangelist is more like a witch. When she disappears, for real, in 1926, I imagine the only folks who missed her were he gullible flock of 'followers'. Followers follow, most unfortunately.As McPhearson's smothering mother, Minnie Kennedy, Bette Davis can take out her exasperation within the make up of the character she's playing because Mrs. Kennedy's the creator and keeper of the witch. What as fascinating television movie series. The facts are presented well. The lead and supporting actors are experts going all out with gusto. Dunaway eerily incarnates McPhearson. A must see many times.
Intense Psychological Study of Evangelist
With a dream duo playing the lead roles, Faye Dunaway, as Sister Aimee McPherson, & Bette Davis, as her mother, Minnie Kennedy, this 96 minute full feature color film couldn't fail. In 1926, McPherson disappeared. She claimed to have been abducted. Others believe she feld to escape the her domineering mother & religion, having an affair with a married man. The scenes of evangelism turn into a courtroom drama, complete with quite intense interactions between Davis & Dunaway that are classic performances. The story is true enough & centers around various types of passion.