Dan Bellows finds former stage star Joyce Heath a penniless drunk and takes her to his Connecticut home for rehabilitation. Unaware that she is married to Gordon, he asks his fiancée Gail to free him and offers to sponsor Joyce in a play. When Gordon refuses to give Joyce a divorce, she runs the car into a tree crippling him for life. Joyce urges Dan return to Gail, opens her play, and begs Gordon for forgiveness.
Bette Davis ... Joyce Heath
Franchot Tone ... Donald \'Don\' Bellows
Margaret Lindsay ... Gail Armitage
Alison Skipworth ... Mrs. Williams
John Eldredge ... Gordon Heath
Dick Foran ... Teddy
Walter Walker ... Roger Farnsworth
Richard Carle ... Pitt Hanley
George Irving ... Charles Melton
Pierre Watkin ... George Sheffield
Douglas Wood ... Elmont
William B. Davidson ... Reed Walsh (as William Davidson)
Generally accepted by everyone for getting the Academy Award in 1935 for \"Dangerous\". To make up for her being denied it in 1934 as waitress Mildred Rogers in the Sumerset Maugham classic \"Of human Bondage\". Bette Davis\' performance as the down and out former Broadway actress Joyce Heath could have easily have won her that coveted award. Even without the Acadamy\'s member feeling guilty for not giving it to her the year before.
In some cheap gin joint Joyce is spotted by socialite architect Donald \"Don\" Berrows, Franchot Tone, who\'s out painting the town red and green with his fiancée the beautiful and blue-blooded Gail Armitage, Margaret Lindsay, and his friend Ted, Dick Foran. Telling the two that he has to take care of some pressing business Don goes to see Joyce and, after buying her a drink, tells her what an impact she made on his life after he first saw her in a play some five years ago. Joyce had convinced Don to go into a life of creativity, architecture, just by seeing her stunning and creative performance on the theater stage.
Taking Joyce to his country home to dry out Don falls in love with her which causes him to worry about his upcoming marriage to Gail, whom he feels he\'s cheating on. Breaking the truth to Gail about his and Joyce\'s feelings for each other and how even if he breaks up with her, which he fully intended to do,it would never be the same between them. Gail hurt and upset gives Don back his engagement ring and calls it,their upcoming marriage,quits.
In an effort to revive Joyce\'s career Don get\'s Broadway producer George Sheffield, Pierre Watkin, to direct the play \"But to Die\" which Joyce was to star in. Don in turn puts up $80,000.00 of his own money to finance the play. With Joyce back in top form opening night looks like it would be a complete success but there\'s one thing that she didn\'t tell Don about her past. Something that will later come back to haunt her and that\'s that she can never marry him! Joyce is already married and her husband Gordon ,Alison Skipworth, the man who\'s career she destroyed will never give her a divorce! The only way Joyce can get him out of being married to her is like the saying goes :\"Untill Death do Us Part\".
Bette Davis\' performance in \"Dangerous\" lifts up the movie far above the soap-opera that it\'s script would have made it with a lesser talented actress. The fine supporting cast also greatly helps Miss.Davis pull the whole thing off successfully. The ending of \"Dangerous\"is nowhere as predictable as you would have thought in a, at first sight, predictable movie. Joyce seeing the light and instead of hurting the two men in her life, Don & Gordon, uses her selfish destructive and unfeeling personality ,for the very last time, that in a strange twist of fate straightened out all the loose ends in the movie.
It was that decision on Joyce\'s brought that her back to the life that she discarded so long ago, that she thought she\'ll never have again.
Bette Davis began appearing in films in 1931 at the age of 23. She was an extremely hard working actor, and by the time she made this film in 1935, she had appeared in 27 films including `Of Human Bondage\' for which she received her first Oscar nomination the year before.
The story is compelling. Don Bellows (Franchot Tone) is an architect who claims that his life was changed forever by a theater performance by a young actress named Joyce Heath (Bette Davis) who came to prominence quickly and vanished almost as fast. He was so moved by her performance that he re-evaluated his life and took on a new direction, moving from being a stockbroker to indulge his more creative side by studying architecture. One day he comes upon Joyce Bellows who is stinking drunk. He recognizes her and attempts to engage her in conversation, but she is cruel and derisive. When she passes out, he takes her back to his place to sober her up and care for her. Despite her decrepit condition, he is captivated by her and falls madly in love with her, breaking off his engagement to Gail (Margaret Lindsay).
Don begins the process of rehabilitating Joyce and though she is resentful and bitter at first, she is won over by his devotion to her and agrees to take a part in a play that she always wanted, a play that he used all his money to back. However, Joyce has a secret that dooms the relationship. She is a dangerous woman who ruins the men who love her. The world comes crashing down on her and on the men in her life.
This is a well-crafted story that keeps the viewer intrigued from beginning to end. Davis is electrifying in the role. I consider this and her performance in `All About Eve\' (where she also played a bitter actress) to be her best. She throws herself into the role and delivers a performance that ranges from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. She won her first of two Academy Awards for this film and went on to be nominated a total of 13 times.
This film is a must for anyone interested in Ms. Davis body of work and for the classic film buff in general. I rated it a 10. It is a terrific story that is enhanced by a riveting performance by one of the legends of film.
So let her be flamboyant, if she wants to be. She had audiences riveted to their seats in 1935 with this strong performance.
How remarkable today, in 2000, that this 65-year-old portrayl can still hypnotize. It is solid Bette Davis work, with Franchot Tone lending fine support in every scene.
This legendary actress may chew a bit of scenery here and there, but then that\'s what makes her work so distinctive: here\'s a real personality, a star, who puts it all out there. She doesn\'t apologize either. . . just let\'s it all hang out and, if you like it, fine--if not, tis no big deal. She seems to have been a born actress, too -- with her style the opposite of the Method. Go on and indicate emotion when you\'re not up to drawing a sincere response. Keep folks wondering where the real Davis begins and the posing one leaves off. You\'re so good a what you do, you don\'t need to worry. . . your fans will lap it up anyway.
Which they did, by the millions. Davis was recently voted the number one film actress of the 20th century in a popular poll by moviegoers. That speaks legions about how her work, after all these years, is still regarded.
* Though Bette Davis was very proud of the Oscar she won for this film, she didn\'t think she deserved it that year--in her opinion, Katharine Hepburn should have won for Alice Adams (1935). Davis always thought she won as compensation for not even being nominated for her star-making performance in Of Human Bondage (1934) the previous year.