One Paragraph Movie Review: Jezebel

Jo Thornely
1 min readFeb 26, 2023

Two hundred and seventy-second film: Jezebel, a 1938 film set in 1852 New Orleans that chucked Bette Davis directly into the Hollywood A-list. The simple way to describe the actual story is that a selfish, headstrong southern belle eventually learns the meaning of sacrifice, like Gone With The Wind but with 40% less racism. Bette as Julie starts as a manipulative flirt and ends up accompanying a man she loves unrequitedly to a leper island to die of yellow fever. The story is straightforward, but you have to pay constant attention to catch all the sub-themes: propriety vs. impropriety, abolitionists vs. slave owners, honour vs. sense, North vs. South, and a bonus epidemic complete with a lockdown that makes people cranky. Young Bette Davis keeps looking like young Uma Thurman, Henry Fonda keeps looking like a bit of alright, and the whole thing keeps looking like some moderately entertaining melodrama. Two and a bit good old-fashioned pistol duels at dawn out of five.

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