Director: William Wyler
Year Released: 1938
Basically a rehash of Gone with the Wind - Bette Davis is Scarlett, Henry Fonda is Ashley. Unlike that film, however, this never feels fresh or even remotely subtle; the disease that's spreading along the South is a metaphor for much-needed reform in the slave-driven South, Fonda comes to represent 'enlightenment' a la "Plato's Cave" metaphor (he travels north, marries a Yankee, which instantly alters his whole ideology), the last few scenes not only grossly melodramatic, but also painfully symbolic: the fires from the torches that surround Davis represent her being cleansed - purified - on the way to the "end" (an island constructed for the sickly). Every argument between the characters somehow leads to a duel, which makes me wonder how the South even survived in the first place; apparently, all Southern gentlemen spent their days doing was drinking hard, tormenting blacks and trying not to get shot. If you think about it, it's also a little Shakespearian in theme, with Bette (doing a pretty good job for her Oscar) playing the reformed Shrew. Wyler has done better work, and the fact that Gone with the Wind came first doesn't help.