Beyond the Forest

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Drama/Thriller, USA, 1949, 89 min.

Tagline Nobody's as good as Bette when she's bad!

Synopsis In the mill town of Loyalton, Wisconsin, Rosa Moline, whose husband Lewis is the town's doctor, is on trial for the murder of Moose Lawson, caretaker of a nearby hunting lodge owned by wealthy Chicago industrialist Neil Latimer. On the stand, Rosa swears that the death was an accident: Five months earlier, Lewis, Rosa and Moose travel to the lodge for the weekend. When they arrive, Rosa gives Lewis a message from a patient who has gone into labor. Feigning an ankle injury, Rosa stays behind while Lewis makes the long trip back to town to attend the delivery. Rosa then contrives to get Moose drunk. After he passes out, Rosa waits in the main lodge for the arrival of Latimer, with whom she is having an affair. Dissatisfied with life in Loyalton, Rosa determines to marry Latimer. When she tells him about her plan, however, he roars with laughter and points out that he can have his pick of any Chicago society girl. Later, Moose's daughter Carol visits, and Rosa longingly tries on her fur coat. She then begs Lewis for two hundred dollars to pay for a shopping trip to Chicago. When Lewis protests that he does not have that much money, Rosa bills his accounts receivable. After learning what Rosa has done, Lewis angrily gives her the money and then orders her to leave and never return. After Rosa arrives in Chicago, she contacts Latimer, who tells her that he has fallen in love and plans to marry. A distraught, hopeless Rosa then returns to Loyalton and Lewis, and soon becomes pregnant. Later, at a birthday party that Carol is giving for Moose, Rosa again encounters Latimer, who privately tells her that he now wants to marry her. The next day, before the guests leave for a hunting party, Moose, who suspects the truth about Rosa's relationship with Latimer, warns her that Latimer will not want her when he learns that she is pregnant. He adds that if she does not tell Latimer the truth, he will. To prevent this, Rosa kills Moose. Because there is no evidence to the contrary, the jury rules that the death was a hunting accident, and Rosa is acquitted. Desperate to marry Latimer, Rosa then begs Lewis to end her pregnancy. When he refuses, she tells him about her affair and admits that she killed Moose. After Lewis insists that Rosa go through with the pregnancy, she borrows clothes belonging to her Indian maid and runs away, but Lewis goes after her and brings her home. On the way, she throws herself down a hill in an attempt to abort her baby. Rosa loses the baby but develops an infection. In her delirium, she accuses Lewis of making her sick and breaks the bottle containing the last of the medicine. After Lewis leaves for the hospital to obtain more medicine, Rosa dresses and goes to the train station, where she collapses and dies.

Directed by King Vidor  

Starring Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, David Brian, Ruth Roman, Minor Watson, more...

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