Bette Davis, Girl Reporter! FRONT PAGE WOMAN (1935) from Warner Archive

cinematically insane

davis-front-pageBette Davis might hate me for saying this, but I love her early films.

Movies like THREE ON A MATCH (1932), THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1935), and even the misguided SATAN MET A LADY (1936) are all eminently watchable, even if they lack the prestige of the later, more challenging assignments the actress fought for (both in-person and in court). Though the brothers Warner often tried to shoehorn her into dewy-eyed ingénue roles, Davis’s essential ferocity shines through even the most standard-issue scripts. And that transcendence is clearly on display in my new favorite flick from Bette’s Peroxide Period — Michael Curtiz’s FRONT PAGE WOMAN (1935), now on DVD from the Warner Archive Collection.

In a magical version of New York City where palm trees line the streets, demure Daily Star reporter Ellen Garfield (Davis) seeks to make a name for herself amongst a motley crew of smirking male competitors. And…

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