Bette Davis, Bordertown

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Confronting Muni in one scene, Davis suddenly so forcefully expels cigarette smoke from her nose that she looks like a cartoon bull about to charge. But though it's funny, it's not ludicrous: it's one of those startling, inspired B.D. moments.

Warners cast Davis in "Bordertown" when it became apparent that her just-completed loanout to RKO for "Of Human Bondage" was not going to wreck her career, as Warners had feared. Instead, as Davis had gambled, the risky "Bondage" had been her breakout performance. "Bordertown" was a worthy follow-up, with Davis just as compelling as the obsessor rather than the obsessee.

originally posted on, December 6, 2004