Bette Davis throttling Miriam Hopkins (GIF)

bette throttling miriam GIFAlthough it is common currency that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had a big Hollywood rivalry going on that was, in fact not true. They were not close friends (and I bet they both said some sharp things about each other behind their backs) but they were not enemies in the slightest. Joan’s biggest hate was reserved for Norma Shearer. Bette’s biggest hate was for Miriam Hopkins due to how Miriam treated the young upstart Bette when she was starting in Hollywood. Oh how much Bette must’ve loved the chance to throttle Miriam on screen! And rub a couple of Oscars in her face.

7 thoughts on “Bette Davis throttling Miriam Hopkins (GIF)

    • Yes, thats the one. I’ve seen it several times, and have heard/read a good bit about their animosity from research done by TCM hosts, and other reliable sources. Miriam was a real cow. She did something on this movie that Bette knew she would, to get back at her – Bette said to the director (I think) of this movie, who knew about their rivalry, “You watch. As the movie moves along in time, and I get older, Miriam will get younger!” And that is exactly what she did. Between hair, makeup and costuming, just watch the “flow of time” in the movie, and Miriam gets positively adolescent, while she becomes the mother of a 20-something year old daughter!

      SO – Bette got her back, by surprise and on film too! The day this scene was to be filmed, Miriam called the director and told him that she had done something to her neck, and it was very painful. So, she asked him to direct Bette to be rather gentle with her when it came time to film this scene. He mentioned it to Bette before the scene was to be shot, and she knew exactly what Miriam had up her sleeve. She told the director she already knew what Miriam was up to, and she already had the “cure” for her sore neck ready for her. And she asked him not to say anything to Miriam and her about it in front of the both of them before shooting.

      They got down to work, and Bette held back at first and started to walk away, and then just as you see in the movie, she turned around and came back after Miriam, grabbed her by the neck, and throttled her just like this. It was REAL, not a stunt shaking, Miriam had no idea it was coming, and her reaction, the look on her face, with her hair waving around and her head bobbling around on her neck like a doll, was absolutely real! Priceless! Cut! That’s a take! And it stayed right in the movie!😉

      • Love all the details! Thanks! Didn’t seem like Bette really needed to “act”, or even have much of an excuse, in order to throttle her nemesis.

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  3. IIRC, and I may not, some of the animosity was due to Bette’s having had an affair with director Anatole Litvak, at a time when he was married to Hopkins…

    • That, I’m sure, added fuel to the fire. I think that the animosity had mainly to do with when Bette was just starting out and Miriam was a big star. So not only was Miriam a main rival (and Bette was very competitive!) for roles Miriam was also allegedly very unkind to Bette when she was starting out. Her mistake!

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