Archive for Wednesday, May 3, 2006

TCM reveals Bette Davis’ bumpy ride

May 3, 2006

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The documentary "Stardust: The Bette Davis Story" (7 p.m., TCM) offers a wealth of film and interview clips of the famous actress, and a whole lot more. You don't expect psychological insight and genuine gossipy dirt from these often-reverent projects, but "Stardust" delivers.

The film offers a chronological appreciation of Davis' acting career. We hear from friends, colleagues, actors and directors both living and dead, including Jack Warner, Frank Sinatra, Jane Fonda, James Woods, Gena Rowlands and Ellen Burstyn.

The film challenges many of the myths and legends Davis used to embroider her life story. She always claimed that she coined the name "Oscar" for the Academy Award, citing its resemblance to her first husband, but we learn the term was in use well before she received her first statuette. Her stories about "Gone with the Wind" also are contested.

Far more than most screen biographies, "Stardust" concentrates on personal misery, alcoholism, domestic violence and the bipolar behavior that helped alienate the star from those who loved her most. The Davis that emerges here is as compelling and disturbing as any of her movie roles.

TCM will devote every Wednesday in May to her films, beginning with the 1939 gem "Dark Victory" (8:30 p.m.), right after "Stardust."

¢ Kate and Jack drag Michael back to the camp and impart news about the others on "Lost" (8 p.m., ABC). Meanwhile, Ana Lucia uses her gentle arts of persuasion to get the hostage in the hatch to spill the beans, and Hurley prepares for a "date" with Libby. Have we figured out whether Libby was in the institution with our hefty friend? Or was that just a hallucination, too?

Tonight's other highlights

¢ The final four teams dodge crocodiles and embark on a skydiving competition on "Amazing Race 9" (7 p.m., CBS).

¢ Foreman's condition worsens on the conclusion of a two-part "House" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Nadia's treatment could be fatal on "Alias" (7 p.m., ABC).

¢ Nathan gets a shock on the eve of his wedding day on the cliffhanger season finale of "One Tree Hill" (7 p.m., WB).

¢ A CIA leak puts several agents' lives in danger on "Criminal Minds" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ Scheduled on "Dateline" (8 p.m., NBC): a predator sting.

¢ A Brooklyn bigamist buys the farm on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢ A leak to a newspaper article causes an undercover officer to lose his cover and then his life on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).

¢ The search for hidden hybrids on "Invasion" (9 p.m., ABC).

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