Directed by: Roy Ward Baker
Countries & Regions: United Kingdom
Length: 95 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 9 July 2007
Cat No: OPTD0969
Screen ratio 1:1.85
Dolby Digital 2.0
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Bette Davis (complete with eye-patch) stars as Mrs Taggart, a widowed mother with three sons. Once a year, to celebrate the death of a... Read More
Fabulous! Davis at her wicked best as the matriarchal Mrs Taggart. Although obviously taken from a stageplay, this black comedy never loses pace and the plot twists and turns towards bette's favour continually. Evil humour abounds in a film which must have been racey for it's day and audience. Davis revels in her role as the one-eyed mother from hell. Absolute cult viewing, even for non-Davis fans.
“Bette Davis - a portrait in evil as the most merciless mother of them all!” shrieked the tagline to this rollicking film adaptation of Bill MacIlwraith’s black comedy stage hit. Playing Mrs. Taggart, the horrendous one-eyed matriarch of three very different sons, Davis gives a smart, and very funny performance – she undoubtedly steals all her many scenes, but here it is with skill and brilliant timing, rather than the lazy resort to camp overdrive that marred other contemporary Davis flicks. When one son brings home a pretty (though far from dumb) blonde to the mother’s anniversary, a war of nerves commences from which only one woman can emerge victorious.
The film has many merits – a sharp script, excellent supporting performances (especially from Sheila Hancock as Davis’s feisty daughter-in-law) and genuine tension during the slanging matches – the upper hand switches constantly throughout each confrontation. But really, this is Davis’s show; whether telling Hancock her family have died just to shut her up, or showing zero compassion during a near-miscarriage, she devours the role with impolite precision. The viewer’s only option is to surrender.