Beyond the Forest

Watch Beyond the Forest

"Nobody's as good as Bette when she's bad!"
  • Approved
  • 1949
  • 1 hr 29 min
  • 6.8  (2,711)

Beyond the Forest is a 1949 film noir directed by King Vidor and starring Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, and David Brian. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Stuart Engstrand, which was adapted for the screen by Lenore J. Coffee. The movie is set in a small town in Wisconsin in the late 1940s and follows the story of Rosa Moline (Bette Davis), a bored and restless housewife who dreams of a better life. Rosa is married to the town doctor, Lewis Moline (Joseph Cotten), who is kind and devoted to her, but whom she despises for being boring and predictable.

Desperate to escape her miserable existence, Rosa begins an affair with a Chicago businessman, Neil Latimer (David Brian), who promises to take her away from her dull life and give her the luxurious lifestyle she craves. However, Neil has no intention of leaving his wife and children for Rosa, and his promises of a better life are nothing but empty lies.

As Rosa spirals further into self-destructive behavior, her relationship with Neil becomes more strained, and the consequences of her actions become more severe. With no one to turn to for help, Rosa must face the consequences of her bad decisions and come to terms with the life she has chosen for herself.

Beyond the Forest is a dark and compelling study of a woman trapped in a life she hates and the lengths she will go to in order to escape it. Bette Davis delivers a powerful performance as Rosa, portraying her as a complex and flawed character who is both sympathetic and destructive. Joseph Cotten is equally impressive as Dr. Moline, playing him with a quiet dignity and strength that makes him a worthy adversary to Rosa's reckless behavior.

David Brian is also excellent as Neil Latimer, capturing the superficial charm and selfishness of a man who is willing to lead a woman on for his own amusement. The film's supporting cast is also strong, particularly Ruth Roman as a sympathetic nurse who tries to help Rosa, and Minor Watson as the town's sheriff who watches Rosa's downward spiral with a mixture of concern and disgust.

The film's direction by King Vidor is solid, with excellent use of shadows and light to create a moody and atmospheric tone that is perfect for the film's noirish subject matter. The movie's score, composed by Max Steiner, is also noteworthy, lending the film an additional layer of tension and unease.

Overall, Beyond the Forest is a classic film noir that is both thrilling and disturbing. It offers a chilling look at the consequences of making bad choices and the damage that can be done to oneself and others in the pursuit of personal gratification. For fans of Bette Davis or film noir in general, it is a must-see.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 29 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (2,711)