Beyond the Forest (1949)
Description: What a dump! That's the classic line delivered by Bette Davis at the halfway point of Beyond the Forest, her final Warner Bros. effort of the 1940s. Some Davis devotees feel as though this vituperative utterance is the high point of an otherwise turgid melodrama; others consider the line a succinct assessment of the entire film. Based on a best-selling novel by Stuart Engstrand, the film stars Davis as Rosa Moline, a small-town girl with big-city ambitions. Trapped in a dull marriage to just-getting-by lawyer Lewis Moline (Joseph Cotten), Rosa plots and plans to sexually entrap millionaire industrialist Neil Latimer (David Brian). That Rosa's scheme is doomed from the start is telegraphed at every juncture by Max Steiner's sledgehammer musical score (few will ever want to hear the song Chicago again after this). Hampered by the censorship standards of the era, the film is prevented from being as frank as the novel; in one scene, for example, Rosa is obviously visiting an abortionist, but the sign on the door reads Psychiatrist. A standard entry in most film historians' Worst Movies lists (even Davis herself hated it), Beyond the Forest is rather entertaining in its own schlocky fashion.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
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