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Beyond the Forest Details


"What a dump!" That's the classic line delivered by Bette Davis at the halfway point of Beyond the Forest, her final Warner Bros. effort of the 1940s. Some Davis devotees feel as though this vituperative utterance is the high point of an otherwise turgid melodrama; others consider the line a succinct assessment of the entire film. Based on a best-selling novel by Stuart Engstrand, the film stars Davis as Rosa Moline, a small-town girl with big-city ambitions. Trapped in a dull marriage to just-getting-by lawyer Lewis Moline (Joseph Cotten), Rosa plots and plans to sexually entrap millionaire industrialist Neil Latimer (David Brian). That Rosa's scheme is doomed from the start is telegraphed at every juncture by Max Steiner's sledgehammer musical score (few will ever want to hear the song "Chicago" again after this). Hampered by the censorship standards of the era, the film is prevented from being as frank as the novel; in one scene, for example, Rosa is obviously visiting an abortionist, but the sign on the door reads "Psychiatrist." A standard entry in most film historians' "Worst Movies" lists (even Davis herself hated it), Beyond the Forest is rather entertaining in its own schlocky fashion. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:October 21, 1949


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Max Steiner Best Drama or Comedy Score 1949 Nominee


Bette Davis
as Rosa Moline
Joseph Cotten
as Dr. Louis Moline
David Brian
as Neil Latimer
Ruth Roman
as Carol
Regis Toomey
as Sorren
Minor Watson
as Moose
Dona Drake
as Jenny
Sarah Selby
as Mildred
Mary Servoss
as Mrs. Welch
Hal Gerard
as Waiter
Gail Bonney
as Woman
Judith Wood
as Waitress
Hallene Hill
as Woman
Ralph Littlefield
as Driver
Frank Pharr
as Coroner
Joel Allen
as Minister
Creighton Hale
as Old Man
Eileen Stevens
as Operator
Buddy Roosevelt
as Man
James Craven
as Man
Harry Tyler
as Stationmaster
Ann Doran
as Edith Williams
Charles Jordan
as Jury Foreman


King Vidor
Henry Blanke
Lenore J. Coffee
Robert Burks
Max Steiner
Composer (Music Score)
Rudi Fehr
Jack L. Warner
Executive Producer
Edith Head
Costume Designer
Edwin DuPar
Special Effects
William McGann
Special Effects
Perc Westmore