46. The Little Foxes (1941)
—Bette was nominated for another Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Regina Giddens in this film. She lost to Joan Fontaine in Suspicion (1941). For the second straight year, a William Wyler directed Bette Davis vehicle was nominated for Best Picture, Director and Actress at the Academy Awards—the year before the film in question was The Letter (1940). For the second straight year, everyone went home empty-handed.
—This film marked the third and final collaboration between Bette and director William Wyler. Although they expressed interest in filming an adaptation of Ethan Frome and A Streetcar Named Desire together circa 1947, the pair would never work on a movie again.
—The screenplay by Lillian Hellman is based on her 1939 play The Little Foxes. Hellman later recalled that “the one [production of Foxes] that came closest to what I intended was Willy Wyler’s film.”
—William Wyler insisted on casting Bette as the lead in The Little Foxes. Bette was reluctant to play Regina after seeing Tallulah Bankhead’s performance in the role on the stage. She recalled: "On The Little Foxes I begged the producer, Samuel Goldwyn, to let Tallulah Bankhead play Regina because Tallulah was magnificent on the stage. He wouldn't let her."
Initially, Jack Warner refused to lend Bette to Goldwyn, who was producing the film at RKO. Goldwyn then offered the role of Regina to Miriam Hopkins. When Wyler refused to work with her, Goldwyn resumed negotiations with Warner and finally secured Bette’s loan-out for $385,000. As a contract player at Warner Bros., Bette was earning $3,000 a week, and when she discovered how much Warner had received for her appearance in Foxes, she demanded and ultimately received a share of the payment.
—The film was shot during one of Los Angeles' hottest heatwaves in years, with temperatures on the soundstages frequently rising above 100 degrees.
—In 2003, the character of Regina Giddens, played by Bette, was ranked number 43 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 50 Best Villains of American cinema.