Time has proven Bette Davis right--no one could top Tallulah Bankhead's Broadway portrayal of the vituperative Regina Giddens, the central figure of Lillian Hellman's now creaking, but still compelling Deep South potboiler. During filming, William Wyler was often heard to say, "We'll have
to get Bankhead." Would that he had. Davis, in an impulsive stampede to make the role her own, took an opposite track to the character. Or perhaps Wyler did; every Davis bio tells it differently. Either way, it's wrong. In her rice powder, with her mouth drawn into a tiny, hard line (it makes her
look more beaked and birdlike than ever) she loses the hothouse-flower sensuality tha...