The Great Lie (1941)

Approved   |    |  Drama


The Great Lie (1941) Poster

After a newlywed's husband apparently dies in a plane crash, she discovers that her rival for his affections is now pregnant with his child.


7.1/10
3,239

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  • Bette Davis at an event for The Great Lie (1941)
  • Hattie McDaniel in The Great Lie (1941)
  • "The Great Lie" Bette Davis and Mary Astor
  • Bette Davis and Mary Astor in The Great Lie (1941)
  • Bette Davis and George Brent in The Great Lie (1941)
  • George Brent in The Great Lie (1941)

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15 March 2009 | blanche-2
8
| Pay no attention to the plot, just enjoy yourself.
For many fans of classic films, this is a fun favorite, mainly because of the performances of Bette Davis as Maggie and Mary Astor as Sandra. George Brent plays a playboy, Pete, who marries concert pianist Sandra, only to find out a few days later that her divorce wasn't final. Apparently (though this isn't explained) he was involved with Maggie shortly before, but she refused to marry him because he's a drunk. However, she does marry him.

There's a problem, though, which is that Sandra turns up pregnant. Then Pete is missing in Brazil somewhere and is believed dead. Maggie talks Sandra into having the baby and letting her and Brent raise it, in exchange for supporting Sandra financially, and she can continue with her concert career unfettered. The two go to a cabin in Arizona where Sandra, a big drinker with other lousy habits, can be supervised.

Well, it's pretty hilarious and only gets better. Davis and Astor give as good as they get to each other, with Sandra screaming that she's an artist who can't get nourishment from a lettuce leaf, and Maggie offering to make her a sandwich. And we all know what happens - Sandra is a nasty you know what and reneges big time.

This is truly a wonderful movie for some reason - actors in those days were able to make you believe anything and go right along with it, and take the plight of the characters seriously. This is probably because the stories were character-driven and audiences invested in the people and therefore bought the story.

Well-directed by Edmund Goulding, the performances are wonderful from the women, Davis, Astor, and Hattie McDaniel as Maggie's maid, who again proves her strong acting abilities. Brent, who made a career out of supporting these huge female stars, is good.

Can't beat this one for entertainment.

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