In order to have an understanding and appreciation for current actors it is essential to look back in film history to see where these actors get their inspiration and who has influenced their acting techniques. An actress, who paved the way for and inspired celebrated females in film today, such as Meryl Streep and Angela Lansbury, is Bette Davis.
Lansbury described Bette Davis as, “a real master of the craft,” that should provide “encouragement and illustration to future generations of aspiring actors.”
When one mentions Bette Davis the first characteristic that comes to mind is her eyes. Davis had remarkably piercing eyes that people claimed could look into ones soul. She was not considered to have the typical Old Hollywood glamour, but had her own unique sense. Davis had distinct and sharp facial features, an abrupt New England diction, exhibited an intense personality both on and off screen and managed to make a cigarette-in-hand feminine and posh.
With a filmography of some 100 films Bette Davis’ most notable roles include “Of Human Bondage” (1934) which was her first Academy Award nomination, “Dark Victory” (1939)”Now, Voyager” (1942) and “All About Eve” (1950). Davis had nadirs in her personal and career life, but is remembered for playing sharp stoic heroines such as Joyce in “Dangerous” (1935) and Jezebel in “Jezebel” (1938) in which she won academy awards for both.
Bette Davis is often referred to as “The First Lady of Film” because she achieved many firsts for women in the film industry during the mid-twentieth century, a time when men dominated the industry. Davis was the first woman to accrue ten Academy Award nominations. She was the first woman to be president of the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences and the first woman to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.
Bette Davis not only played independent women she was one.
Davis also provided inspiration for Kim Carnes 1981 song that was top of the billboard for nine weeks and the biggest hit of the year, Bette Davis Eyes.
If you are unfamiliar with Bette Davis ÉCU suggests checking out her films and seeing why even twenty-five years after her passing, her work and mesmerizing eyes still captivate audiences and actors alike.