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|Bette Davis||Regina Hubbard Giddens|
|Herbert Marshall||Horace Giddens|
|Teresa Wright||Alexandra Giddens|
|Richard Carlson||David Hewitt|
|Dan Duryea||Leo Hubbard|
|Carl Benton Reid|
"...the film version of the stage hit, as the ruthless beauty whose ambition spelt the doom of three men"
The focus is on Southern aristocrat Regina Hubbard Giddens, who struggles for wealth and freedom within the confines of an early 20th century society where a father considered only sons as legal heirs. As a result, her avaricious brothers Benjamin and Oscar are independently wealthy, while she must rely for financial support upon her sickly husband Horace, who has been away undergoing treatment for a severe heart condition.Having married his much-maligned, alcoholic wife Birdie solely to acquire her family's plantation and its cotton fields, Oscar now wants to join forces with Benjamin to construct a cotton mill. They approach their sister with their need for an additional $75,000 to invest in the project. Oscar initially proposes a marriage between his son Leo and Regina's daughter Alexandra – first cousins – as a means of getting Horace's money, but Horace and Alexandra are repulsed by the suggestion. When Regina asks Horace outright for the money, he refuses. She tells him his refusal is not important since he will die soon and she is waiting for the day to come. Alexandra overhears the conversation.Ben and Oscar, aware of Horace's refusal, pressure Leo into stealing Horace's railroad bonds from his personal security box at the bank to complete the sum needed to construct the mill. After returning home from an impromptu trip to his security box at the bank, Horace informs Regina of the theft of his bonds. Regina, realizing her two brothers stole the bonds through Leo who works at the bank, schemes to acquire a larger share of the mill by blackmailing her brothers about their theft. Immediately, Horace states he is changing his will to leave Alexandra everything except the railroad bonds which he will claim he lent to Leo as a loan. Regina is therefore unable to blackmail her brothers anymore, and all she will achieve is the repayment of the stolen $75,000 once the mill is making a profit.Regina then argues with Horace about her contempt for him, and when he suffers a heart attack she makes no effort to get him his medicine from upstairs. Horace climbs the stairs to get his medicine but collapses on the way up. The final scenes of the film involve a dying Horace surrounded by family, a doctor and servants who await the chance he may survive. Eventually, Horace dies without anyone knowing his plans, thus allowing Regina to blackmail her brothers into agreeing that she will take 75% of the mill's profits or else report Ben and Oscar to the authorities for theft. The brothers are left with no choice but to accept her demand.Alexandra hears this conversation and upon the brothers' leaving, confronts her mother about the nature of her father's death on the stairway. Alexandra states the importance of not idly watching people do evil, and Regina tells her daughter that she cannot do anything to stop her from leaving the household. Alexandra runs away with newspaperman David. Regina is left wealthy, but completely alone.
DVD : 2001-09-18