In This Our Life ★★★★★

A terrific early 1940s Warner Brothers melodrama, starring two of their best actresses at the time - Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. They play the proverbial "bad" and "good" sisters in a very dysfunctional Southern family. And boy, Bette Davis is quite bad, almost a sociopath. She steals her sister's husband, drives him to suicide, sexually teases a lecherous uncle to get money from him, and pins a hit-and-run accident she causes on a young studious black man.

The acting is top notch all around - Davis excels at this kind of role, as does de Havilland playing noble "good woman" roles (think Melanie in "Gone With The Wind" but with an edge). The other cast is quite good, especially Charles Coburn as the rich uncle, Ernest Anderson as the young black man, and Hattie McDaniel as his mother. Also good in smaller roles are Lee Patrick and Billie Burke. The male leads are both somewhat weak and the actors in those roles (George Brent and Dennis Morgan) are not on the same caliber as the female leads.

Surprisingly for its time, the racism of the South is accurately portrayed and the black characters are not stereotypes. And the implication of incestuous feeling of the uncle for his nephew is quite overt, and I am surprised it made it past the censors.

The film was directed by John Huston, and there's a great score by Max Steiner. Not one of the best known films from that era, but it truly should be better known and more widely seen. But because I never tire of watching this one, I have given it 5 stars. I watched it through the Watch TCM site/app, and it's available to freely stream for the next few days.