The Great Lie

1941

Drama

0
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 60%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 3744

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
October 07, 2021 at 05:08 PM

Cast

Hattie McDaniel as Violet
Jerome Cowan as Jock Thompson
Mary Astor as Sandra
George Brent as Peter
720p.WEB
988.76 MB
956*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 47 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 8 / 10

Forget that the story itself is nearly impossible--this is an excellent and highly entertaining film

While this does not rank among the very best of Bette Davis' films, it is exceptional and extremely entertaining. The reason it doesn't quite make it to the heights of the great movies such as LITTLE FOXES or ALL ABOUT EVE is that the plot, though interesting, is so impossible that if you really stop and think about it, it all makes very little sense. However, provided you are not a close-minded curmudgeon (I, myself am an open-minded curmudgeon), then forgetting about the impossibilities isn't an issue and you can sit back and love this film.

The film begins with George Brent eloping with Mary Astor. After they both sober up, Brent can't help but notice that Astor is a highly strung and demanding....um...diva (I'm trying to keep this review family-friendly). That same sober morning, Brent is told that the marriage is not legal, as Astor's divorce decree isn't yet final, so they'll have to remarry. Fortunately, the guy realizes that Astor is a baby-eating monster and leaves--back into the arms of his ex-fiancé, Bette Davis.

Davis had been terribly wronged by Brent, as they were STILL engaged when Brent eloped with Astor. However, Brent is super apologetic and convinces her to marry him--after all, the marriage to Astor wasn't legal.

Shortly after this, Brent is killed while on government business in Brazil. Davis is sad, but things get really interesting when she learns that Brent's one night "marriage" to Astor has resulted in pregnancy!! Astor, however, has all the maternal instincts of a hamster, so Davis convinces her to take the baby to term and then give it to her to raise--after all, she'd love to have Brent's baby. While never said, it was implied that if Davis hadn't made this deal to finance the baby's birth, then Astor would have probably gotten an illegal abortion.

During the months living all alone with Davis, Astor is quickly going stir-crazy. However, if she has the baby, she must keep it a secret or it might harm her musical career (after all, this was the 1940s). Plus, Davis intends to return home and tell everyone it is her biological child--or at least let them think this. This portion of the film is probably the most interesting, as Astor goes from being selfish and mean to being like Davis' character in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?--but only meaner and grumpier!! Astor's part allows her to scream, yell, nearly burn down their cabin and run amok with wild abandon. This ain't exactly intellectual fare, but wow is it fun to watch as it unfolds!! It was really interesting that in this film, Davis is in control and sweet and Astor is the Devil's daughter (well, practically Satan's kid--she's THAT selfish and cruel).

After the baby is born, as agreed Astor splits and leaves the baby with Davis--showing no second thoughts or concerns for the kid. However, when out of the blue, Brent is discovered alive in the Amazonian jungle, Astor sees her chance to return to not only bust up the marriage, but take the child AND Brent for herself. This leads to a very satisfying conclusion that practically brought this old grouch to tears.

As I said above, there are so many impossible situations piled on top of each other that the plot is all but ridiculous. But, with amazing dial dialog, acting and very, very smooth direction and production, this couldn't help but be a great film. A must-see for old movie buffs.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 7 / 10

Love lies

Am a great fan of "classic" film, and films made in "The Golden Age". While George Brent has always been hit and miss for me, Bette Davis has always been wholly deserving of her legendary reputation and director Edmund Goulding directed her to great effect in 'The Old Maid' and 'Dark Victory'. Have liked a good deal of other Mary Astor performances and Hattie McDaniel and Lucile Watson were always watchable regardless of the overall quality of the film.

'The Great Lie' is very impressive in many areas and did find myself liking and enjoying it a lot. Considering what it had going for it, part of me was also a little disappointed and thought that 'The Great Lie' could have been even better than it turned out. Instead of the great film it could easily have been, it was instead good to very good with great elements. It represents Goulding, Davis (do prefer the mentioned films of theirs), composer Max Steiner and especially Astor are well represented. Have seen a lot better from Brent though.

Will agree that the story is often implausible and in particularly credibility-straining parts truly ridiculous and some strands from another happen too fast. As can be the case with melodramas, parts of the script lay it on a little too thick on the soap.

Brent is for my tastes rather bland in a pretty colourless part.

Davis however is great. Not quite one of her finest performances, but she is beautifully retrained while very much engaged with the increasing intensifying drama, as the intensity increases she increasingly pulls out all the stops. McDaniel and Watson shine in support in roles perfect for them and ones they always played very well. Best of all is Astor, who is brilliant. While she was a fine actress, did find myself being amazed at how much ruthlessness and fire she had in her and it was absolutely thrilling to watch. She and Davis are dynamite together. Goulding directs sympathetically while allowing Davis and Astor to have fun without being too laid back about it.

It is a lush-looking film, the photography, the costumes, the sets, all lovely on the eyes. Steiner's score showcases his unmistakable style in a sweeping and dramatic but not too overpowering score beautifully orchestrated. The script is not perfect, but has more than enough wit, poignancy and intensity to spare. While the story could have been better, it wasn't dull at least and the character interaction kept it engrossing.

Overall, good but could have been great. Davis and Astor are the main reasons to see it. 7/10

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10

Mary Astor's Pinnacle Year

The Great Lie in its own way is quite daring for the time. There were not too many films in which motherhood was seen as a burden rather than a sacred obligation. In that sense Warner Brothers was taking quite a chance with this film.

The one thing I don't understand is Bette Davis taking the role of the noble one in the triangle that involves her with George Brent and Mary Astor. Astor's part is clearly the showier one which she proved by taking home the Best Supporting Actress for 1941. Perhaps it was simply a matter of screen time and that Davis was not going to be in support of anyone.

Be that as it may, The Great Lie involves a possible lie to come when a certain infant comes of age. George Brent's got both these women on the string. He marries Mary Astor who is a renowned concert pianist in a whirlwind courtship as soon as the ink on her divorce became dry.

Turns out it wasn't quite that dry yet. But nature taking its course Astor gets pregnant. But before she and we find that out, Brent whose marriage to Astor was technically invalid runs off with Davis who's a member of the rich Maryland horsey set.

Later on Brent goes missing in a plane crash in the Amazon rain forest and Davis comes up with a marvelous proposition. If Astor will give up the kid when it's born, she'll raise it as her own. Astor who is career minded to the last exponential degree agrees to this until Brent finds his way out of the rain forest.

The Great Lie is one potboiler melodrama which is lifted above its worth by these two women. Davis does what she can with the part, though I think she would have been better as the pianist. But Mary Astor just dominates the film. Her performance is the best thing by far in The Great Lie. This was the pinnacle year in Mary Astor's career. She also co-starred in 1941 in her best known screen part, that of Brigid O'Shaunessy in The Maltese Falcon.

Given the mores of the time there are only certain directions this plot can take. The Great Lie would be one great flop, but for Bette and Mary. See it for them.

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