“Pay me 20 cents for them 2 drinks and she’s yours.”
Joyce Heath (Bette Davis) was once slated to become the greatest actress on the American stage, but she dropped out of sight at the pinnacle of her success. There are rumours of a “jinx” that haunts her career, but when architect and loyal fan Don Bellows (Franchot Tone) meets the down-and-out actress in a rundown bar, he’s determined to salvage her–in spite of the fact that she’s obviously an alcoholic.
Bellows spirits Joyce back to his country home, and leaves her there in the care of his competent housekeeper. He doesn’t mention the once-great actress to his uppercrust fiancee, Gail Armitage (Margaret Lindsay). When Joyce kisses goodbye to the gin, she’s ready for romance, and sets her sights on Bellows. Bellows, in the meantime, plans a huge Broadway comeback for Joyce, and he’s so confident of her abilities, he’s ready to finance this gamble with his own money …
Dangerous provides a great role for Davis, and the character of Joyce Heath allows her to portray a range of powerful emotions–she’s a drunk, a failure, a temptress, and finally, a redeemed soul who learns to face and fight her demons. Franchot Tone is overshadowed by Davis’s on-screen presence, but that’s not his fault. At the time the film was made, Tone was married to Joan Crawford, but it’s rumoured that he and Davis had an affair during filming–and that’s an incredible love triangle to contemplate. Bette Davis makes the film, and elevates it from a weepy soap to something grander with a splendid performance.