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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

April 5, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Happy birthday, Bette Davis

On this day in 1908, the great Bette Davis was born (as Ruth Elizabeth Davis, to be exact), and cinema would never be the same. The fabulous Bette, who got the spelling of her name as a teenager from a Balzac novel, would appear in more than 100 movies, earn 10 Oscar nominations (only Meryl Streep and Katharine Hepburn, among actresses, have more), and ultimately have engraved on her tombstone “She did it the hard way.”
Nobody’s eyes blazed like Davis’, and no one else had her wry, fiery way with a line. “Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke,” she drawls, in this scene from the wonderful “All About Eve.” Not as famous a line as “Fasten your seat belts,” — but then, virtually everything she says in this movie becomes instantly classic. (Watch, too, the business she does with the chocolate — first rejecting it, then devouring it as if it’s her last meal before the slaughter.) Let’s raise a martini glass to Ms. Davis, gone since 1989 but forever alive onscreen.

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